Football - Cup allows run-out for youngsters

Fulham boss Rene Meulensteen admitted he used the FA Cup to give youth a chance after playing out a lively 1-1 draw at Norwich.

The Cottagers gave debuts to four players, including 18-year-old French midfielder Ange Freddy Plumain and 19-year-old Lasse Vigen Christensen.

Meulensteen, who also utilised 20-year-old Chris David and Dan Burn, 21, said: "The FA Cup is a great competition to be in and it is a competition where you want to utilise the squad.

"It gives you opportunities to bring other people into the fold. Four players made their debuts, four young players, which in my opinion is the biggest bonus. It's a breath of fresh air in that respect so that was a big positive for us."

The four debut boys all impressed, with David providing the cross for Darren Bent's opening goal while Plumain caused Norwich full-back Steven Whittaker all sorts of problems.

There was also a debut of sorts for 30-year-old Fulham old boy Clint Dempsey, who returned to play the full 90 minutes to mark the first appearance of his two-month loan spell from Seattle Sounders.

Meulensteen said: "I'm very pleased with him. I'm glad he's part of our squad now."