DEVELOPING young players is extra vital for Oxford United in light of the new salary cap, according to Derek Fazackerley.

Sky Bet League One clubs must not spend more than £2.5million per season on areas including player wages, bonuses and agents’ fees following a meeting last week.

But the cap – which the U’s voted against – only covers players aged 21 and over, putting greater emphasis on bringing through young talent.

Fazackerley, who this week moved from his previous position as United’s first-team coach to an advisory role, knows this could be beneficial in the short and long term.

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He said: “It’s probably now even more important that we look at the younger end of the football club and develop from there.

“You can bring in the younger players and develop them without affecting the first team budget.”

Players’ union the PFA will be taking the cap to arbitration, but United are planning for the decision to stay.

Under the new rules, clubs cannot have more than 22 squad members aged over 21 next season, with that number dropping to 20 for the following campaign.

The U’s have 19 players in that category, but also boast several young prospects including Malachi Napa, Kyran Lofthouse and Nico Jones.

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United have an impressive recent record when it comes to youth development, improving rising stars from their own academy as well as loanees.

Fazackerley has seen countless youngsters leave the U’s for a higher level since he arrived at the club in 2014, including Callum O’Dowda, Ryan Ledson and John Lundstram.

The latter pair both flourished at United after leaving Premier League side Everton and the 68-year-old is aware this can prove just as fruitful as promoting from within.

Fazackerley said: “You want the best young players in Oxfordshire to be coming through Oxford United’s academy.

“You’ve also got to be realistic, as some might go to Southampton, Reading, the Midlands or London.

“We’re aware of what we have to do, but we also have to be mindful of players that might be falling out of a Premier League club that never get the opportunity to play first team football there.

“We’ve had that with Lundstram, Ledson, Cameron Brannagan, Kemar Roofe and several others.

“We have to be working on both fronts and there will be opportunities out there, for sure.”