The following article first appeared in the matchday programme v LeedsBurnley Football Club is delighted to welcome the Youth Team’s new intake, with 10 youngsters signing scholarships at Turf Moor.
The pre-scholars will link-up with the current first-year scholars in the summer to form the new Youth Team, and will compete in the 2016/17 North West Youth Alliance.
Adam Bruce and Marcel Wusiewicz join Connor King in the goalkeeping department, while defenders Janes Clarke, Leighton Egan, Kwazinkosi Mpofu, Scott Wilson and Oliver Younger are added to the defence.
Midfield duo Tristen Jumeau and Samuel Layton have also penned two-year deals, with forward Dwight McNeil bolstering the Burnley strike force.
And nine out of the 10 prospects have come through the Burnley Academy - something Academy Manager Jason Blake is delighted with.
Blake, pictured above, said: “Firstly I’m delighted to welcome the new scholars for next season, and it’s a really positive sign moving forward that all but one of the players have come through the Academy.
“That shows the talent we have in the Academy and in the group and all of them know there is a lot of hard work ahead of them, but individually we know we have some very good players in the age group.
“Over the last couple of years there has been a lot of work gone on behind the scenes that doesn’t get seen, or perhaps acknowledged, but we feel a large percentage of players coming through the Academy could be a regular occurrence.
“It may not be to this percentage every season, but we think we have some very good schoolboys coming through the programme, and it’s a very exciting time for the Academy.
“And of the nine players who have come through the Academy, eight come from the North West, which shows we try to maximise our catchment area.”
The 10 teenagers will take next season’s Youth Team squad to 18, including three goalkeepers, meaning there will be strong competition for places.
However additional fixtures have been shrewdly created.
Blake explained: “In addition to our U18s Youth Alliance fixtures, we have an extensive U21s programme that Development Squad manager Michael Jolley has put in place, which allows for opportunities to arise there.
“We also have several U17s fixtures that occur fortnightly, which again offers more vital game time to all of the squad. It also offers that to the U16s coming through, and with the option of loan football, like we have seen this season, plenty of game time will be on offer.
“Apart from game time, the U17s fixtures were created this season for the development of the U16s players who exceeded in their age group and needed a higher level to play at, and some of the U16s even played for the youth team.”
The Academy staff are excited with the current crop coming through to the Youth Team, but beneath that there is a pool of talent that again breeds excitement for the future.
Blake added: “We have started offering scholarships to players who are a little bit younger than in previous seasons, which shows how strong we think the players coming through are.
“We believe the crop coming in this year are talented, and they are also great characters which is equally as important, but we also have high hopes for the younger players too.
“Just like the U16s playing in the U17 fixtures, U15s are playing out of their age group for the U16s and have already been offered a scholarship, so even underneath the full-time environment there is a lot of good work going on and there are exciting players coming through.”