Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate has warned his young players they will only get into his team if they are good enough.
The Teessiders are currently in the process of re-shaping their squad in the wake of relegation from the Barclays Premier League, with Tuncay Sanli, Afonso Alves, Robert Huth and Gary O'Neil, as well as the injured Downing, among the names to have been linked with moves away this summer.
Southgate said: "If they are good enough and come through, then there's every chance they will get in the squad and maybe the team. But we want to win promotion this season and that means we have to be stronger than last season, so there will be no room for carrying passengers.
Boro have enjoyed huge success in bringing youngsters through their Academy into the first team in recent years with the likes of Stewart Downing, David Wheater and Andrew Taylor in particular having prospered at senior level.
"The Academy will still be a big part of this club, as it always has been, but our young players won't get in just because they have come through our system," the manager added. "They have to be good enough. It's very much about raising the bar and setting themselves new standards."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms