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From Foundation To First Team

29 August 2013

The Graduate Honours Board is on the move at Turf Moor

Burnley’s youth team players now have the ultimate incentive to follow in the footstep of Turf Moor legends.

The ‘Graduate to First Team Football’ honours board has been moved from the old youth development offices into the entrance of the Elite Training Centre.

Over 160 names, who have made the transition from the Academy to pull on the first team shirt are listed on the board.

And Academy manager Jason Blake, pictured above, hopes the board acts as an inspiration for the stars of the future.

He explained: “We have quite big plans for the welcoming area and wanted to create a message to inspire players coming out of our youth system to what they can achieve.

“I think it is really important that any players who come in can see the history of the department and what the club has produced in the past.”

The board has also been updated to reflect the contribution of two recent departees. 

Jay Rodriguez made 128 appearances after coming through the ranks, while former Turf Moor teammate Chris McCann registered 268 appearances – the most by an Academy graduate since Paul Weller’s 288, achieved between 1995-2004.

Jay Rod in Premier League action

“Someone like Jay is a wonderful recent example for our current players to look up to, having gone from the youths here to play for England U21s and in the Premier League,” added Blake.

“The history of this club is an important fabric and we will never forget it, but looking forward to EPPP and what it demands, it is all about looking forward with an important nod to the past.

“If you look at some of the names on the board in relatively recent times we do have quite a few players who have made the odd first team appearance.

“The game has changed with more substitutes, etc, but our internal ambition is to turn those one and two appearances into double figures and beyond.

“Equally, we need to get more players playing first team football, even if that is not at Burnley.

“We know every player we produce may not be Premier League quality. The challenge is to make sure they have long careers in the game as well.

“Naturally, we want to try and make sure that’s with Burnley, but the realistic aspect is not every player coming through the Academy will make it here.”

He added: “What we are trying to create is a legacy. The Academy needs to remain intact throughout any changes that occur at this club and that is a massive part of what we are trying to put in place at the moment.

“We have players like Terry Pashley, Graham Lancashire and John Mullin on that board, who now work in differing capacities to bring the next generation through.

Terry Pashley

“It’s important that the young boys see those names on the board because it shows them they have been there and done it.

“Equally, the challenge to our staff is to make sure they are the next names up there and follow that journey.

“That journey from foundation to first team is a long one that involves a lot of hard work. But there are now visuals we can challenge them with to inspire them, to achieve that.”

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