Oxford United defender Johnny Mullins says the youngsters helping the side's League Two promotion push have earned their places on merit.
Manager Michael Appleton has handed a number first-team chances in cup ties against Braintree and Dagenham.
Wednesday's Football League Trophy victory at Dagenham saw defender Robbie Cundy, 18, make his senior debut.
"This season we've had the coaching staff to bring them on even more," Mullins told BBC Radio Oxford.
Mullins had particular praise for the likes of Cundy, winger Callum O'Dowda and midfielders Josh Ashby and AJ George for the work they have put in on the training pitch.
"They have been comfortable in their surroundings, but ultimately they're in the team because they're good enough," he said.
"There's a lot of quality there and they keep producing, working hard day in day out to ultimately achieve what they want.
"I'm sure they're all aiming as high as possible."