Johnny Cantor / The rise of Aaron Connolly may well attract other young stars to Brighton

Aaron Connolly was an opportunity to shine in the Premier League (Getty)
Aaron Connolly was an opportunity to shine in the Premier League (Getty)

It doesn’t matter what job you have, what your motivation is or what age you are, if your aim is to find work rewarding you need a pathway to progress.

Good companies and good managers nurture their staff, encourage individuals and give them a direction.

It may not seem quite so obvious in the world of elite sport in a world where loyalty has diminished but it is equally important if you want to get the best from people.

This weekend three under 23 players, Aaron Connolly, Steven Alzate and Tudor Baluta were all named as substitutes for Brighton and Hove Albion.

I have written about the new strategy for the club and its younger players before. However, when players outside of Sussex see opportunities are being offered by a Premier League club to those from the academy it makes that club more attractive It can then choose the best.

In the past Southampton has churned out some amazing players via its Staplewood facility. Bale, Walcott and Lallana are some of those who began there but the supply line continued.

Then players noticed that if you performed in the red and white striped shirt you might just swap it for the all red of Liverpool. I don’t suppose any side wants to be a stepping stone or a ‘selling club’ but if you are a club of a certain size ,you have to be realistic. The important thing is to get the best from them when you have them.

Much of the focus on Chelsea so far in the Premier League this season has been on the emergence of players like Abraham, Mount and Tomori.

However, the Blues’ use of these players has been, not enforced, but accelerated by their transfer ban. While there is a spotlight on Frank Lampard, Albion head coach Graham Potter seems happier working with younger players who are raw but hungry.

They are more likely to buy into what he’s doing. In the past Brighton have looked to borrow talent from others but now it seems other clubs may have an eye on the south coast for options. Fikayo Tomori had a spell with the Seagulls on loan from Stamford Bridge and another Chelsea youngster Izzy Brown had his time at the Amex cut short by injury.

Now though the club is looking inwards. It is not navel gazing, quite the opposite. It is allowing young talent a chance to showcase their skills at the top level.

If it continues not only will the current workforce feel empowered but others will want to come and work there.

In my experience, whatever the business, that is a recipe for success.

Johnny Cantor is a commentator for BBC Sussex

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