As the UK continues its crawl back to normality, we are only just beginning to assess the damage done by Covid and the lockdowns.

One group badly scarred over the last two years has been the pre and early teens with sporting ambitions.

The closure of sports facilities, training camps, coaching clinics, and the cancellation of matches and, crucially, trials for professional clubs and academies has meant thousands of children and young adults have missed, possibly forever, their ambitions of pursuing a sporting career.

Most families will not have had the luxury of free open spaces and large gardens, nor the ability to afford expensive training gear, nor the time (and wherewithal) to help and coach this generation to fill the void in their sports training and education.

The majority of children will have missed vital development years and many will have just given up altogether.

Most children in the 13 and 14 year age group who had been offered places in the 2020/2021 cancelled academy trials in some sports I know of are about to be told that their spot has not been rolled forward to the under 15s and 16s, and while clubs will send out extra scouts to try and ensure that talent does not fall between the cracks, it is inevitable most of those children in the younger groups simply will not get a look in and their hopes of a career in sport (or playing to a really high standard) will have been dashed.

Sport adds to the health of the population, it also employs hundreds of thousands, makes a huge contribution to tax revenues, and one only has to look at the boost given to the morale of the UK population by the Euros and the Olympics.

Yet, no consideration was given to the generation of young talent.