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Can Grayson unearth another KP?

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Can Grayson unearth another KP?

Post  sunderpitt on 2017-09-07, 11:11 am

[size=68]F[/size]or any footballer dealing with rejection or slogging away with little reward in the lower leagues hoping one day his performances will grab the attention of someone who matters, no player is more inspiring than Jamie Vardy. He is the one who refused to listen after being discarded as a youngster; the former factory worker who defied the doubters by becoming the unlikeliest of Premier League champions and England internationals. Now he is the one who wants to give others like him a second chance.
It is Vardy’s belief too few professional clubs look hard enough in non-league football and his hope the academy he has set up with his agent, John Morris, will offer lost or overlooked players the opportunity to follow in his footsteps. The Leicester City striker speaks from a position of authority, having been released by Sheffield Wednesday at 16, and he is on a mission to prove English football’s backwaters contain a heavy flow of talent.

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“I don’t have to do any of it,” he says, “but I know what I had to do to get to where I am and from playing in non-league I was playing against players who should have had pro clubs.”
The nascent V9 Academy has enjoyed early success. This summer Vardy’s scouts picked out 42 applicants to take part in a week-long programme at Manchester City’s Etihad Campus; four players, Danny Newton, Alex Penny, Lamar Reynolds and Blair Turgott, landed professional contracts. Newton, a 26-year-old maintenance engineer, has scored three goals in his first five matches for Stevenage after joining the League Two side from Tamworth. Because he never had an agent, he has never known if any scouts were looking at him. Newton did not rise through the academy system, despite spending time at Leicester’s centre of excellence when he was younger, and he has never had a trial anywhere. He still carries his boots to games and has heart, speed and finishing ability. Newton scored 29 goals for Tamworth in the National League North last season.
“I’ve just played non-league,” he says. “I was at Hinckley United in the Conference North when I was 17. I broke into the first team and was playing every week for three years and they went bust.”
Newton’s strike partner at Hinckley was Andre Gray, who joined Watford for £18.5m from Burnley this summer. “Luton took him and he’s progressed after getting that chance,” Newton says. “I’ve just left it a bit late. I’m 5ft 11in, I’m quite physical on the pitch, so it’s nothing to do with size. A lot of it’s right place, right time.”
Vardy sank into the eighth tier of English football after being let go by Wednesday, joining Stocksbridge Park Steels. He had spells with Halifax Town and Fleetwood Town before Leicester signed him for £1m five years ago. Accustomed to the robust physicality of non-league, he had to adjust to the pace of the Championship.
However his experience had steeled him, with his raw, sharp-edged style helping Leicester win the Premier League two seasons ago. Now Vardy surveys the money spent by Premier League clubs in the summer and argues there are smarter ways to find players. “With clubs now it is all about instant success,” he says. “They want it here and now.”
Chris Ramsey, who coached at the academy, concurs with that assessment. “Jamie’s proved a lot of people wrong coming in through the back door,” the former Queens Park Rangers manager says. “Clubs need to be more patient with regards to people who are released, how long they stay in the club. Timing is a major factor.
“If you bring in Jamie Vardy for £1m from non-league, or you get someone with an exotic name from somewhere else, sometimes fans do become a little bit snobby. Rather than giving one of these lads the opportunity to be developed, sometimes people want what they think will be successful straight away.
“Owners are also in it for their egos, aren’t they? It’s like who has the most expensive car or flashiest house? There’s an avenue now for owners to be looking down as regards getting players in from the lower divisions. Sometimes the environment changes and the player flourishes.”
Ramsey and Vardy wonder if the academy system provides youngsters with too much, too soon. “Some youngsters are overpaid because they don’t realise the opportunity they have been given,” Ramsey says. “They haven’t got the resilience of players who have been given a second chance.”
Turgott also joined Stevenage but his upbringing contrasts with Newton’s. He was at West Ham from the age of nine and counted Nathaniel Chalobah and Raheem Sterling as team-mates in England youth teams but he bounced from one unsatisfactory loan spell to the next and found under-21 football lacked stimulation.
“Going to Bromley last season gave me security and a platform just to show what you’re about for a whole season,” the 23-year-old midfielder says. “I benefited from it – not having the comfort of knowing I was going to play but having that consistency. You learn things about yourself.”
Perhaps the simple truth is Turgott did not meet West Ham’s standards, that to criticise a club is to look past a player’s responsibility to control his destiny. Maybe there never will be another footballer who will experience a rise as meteoric as Vardy’s. There is a chance he is an outlier, an exceptional player who was always going to return to the top at some point. Yet his argument is that clubs will never know unless they go to the trouble of finding out.
“The main aim was to get the lads into the professional game when they’re not getting the chance for whatever reason,” he says. “Either no one was going to watch them or they were dropped from the pro club and had just gone into non-league hoping straight away they’ll be back up but it doesn’t always work like that.
“The thing we have changed is the fact we are getting the scouts there to run the rule over them. When the academy was on, a lot of the lads were coming up to me and saying: ‘Even if I don’t get signed, at least after this I will know.’
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Re: Can Grayson unearth another KP?

Post  Hieronymus on 2017-09-07, 11:48 am

Really good article, Thanks for posting it. And good on Jamie Vardy for setting up his academy too.

Yes, we have all watched some non-league club and spotted the odd player who you think maybe should be playing a higher class of football.

My ex-husband was a very good left winger in his youth. One day his team (Burradon, I think) found out some scouts from Sunderland and Newcastle would be at their match and the lads were all excited. Unfortunately my ex got injured after 2 minutes by a lad being over exuberant in a tackle (showing off because the scouts were there?) and ended up in hospital with a broken leg. So he never got the chance to show what he could do. Of course this was in the 60s so long before academies, but that was it, perhaps his only chance, gone in an instant.

Even now there are young men out there who could make the step up. Some kids just don't fit into the academy system, some parents cannot afford the time and money for all the trudging round endless wilds of Northumberland and Durham taking them to matches. Some kids are simply late developers or late to mature mentally (some never manage that of course - Wayne Rooney I am looking at you!)

More importantly for teams like ours, players that you find this way appreciate every single day of their career and can never be accused of not trying, because they never want to go back to their old jobs as plumbers, or bricklayers, or factory workers. So maybe this is an alternate route of finding players and perhaps Grayson is the man to try it. He has little to lose surely?
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Re: Can Grayson unearth another KP?

Post  sunderpitt on 2017-09-07, 3:18 pm

As a postscript I have just read in a WC qualifier France 0 0 Luxembourg 

French team value  £400m Luxembourg team value £25k
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Re: Can Grayson unearth another KP?

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