Burton Albion academy manager Dan Robinson believes tests like the 4-1 defeat to Rocester are exactly what the Brewers' youngsters need.
An Albion side made up almost exclusively of under-18s players took on the Midland Football League Premier Division Romans in one of Burton's 10 pre-season friendlies on Monday.
Despite the scoreline, the young Brewers team competed well with an experienced senior outfit. Kyle Clamp got Albion's goal with a tidy finish, while the likes of Charlie Dowd, Jake Davies, Max Smith and goalkeeper Callum Hawkins all caught the eye.
Burton had to come to terms with the physicality and intensity of Rocester, who raced out of the blocks and dominated play early on.
That is exactly what Robinson's side did - and he was encouraged to see that response.
"As far as an experience for our players, it couldn't have been better," said the Albion academy manager.
"One of our biggest philosophies as an academy is developing players who can be adaptable - players who can play football, but also be physical and mix it when they need to.
"The Championship has a lot of different styles of play after all.
"There were a lot of players out there who are 16. So to come up against seasoned players, some of who have played and come through pro clubs, is great.
"It's a learning curve, and to be exposed to that is great.
"They (the under-18s) are preparing for the Youth Alliance League this season, and there will be some teams in that division who play physical football, so it's very good preparation for them for that.
"For 16-year-olds to be exposed to that football gives them a real insight."