Our Academy Manager Michael Hamilton is delighted to announce the signings of four exciting prospects on scholarships.
The quartet will start their scholarships next summer and will join Paris Lock, Aron Sasu and Remi Onabanjo in transitioning from the U16s to the U18s squad for next season.
Below are the players who have committed their futures to the club with a brief description by Michael on each:
Ibrahim Bangura (central midfielder): ‘Ibz’ has been part of the academy for just over two years and his progress and development is testament to his attitude. Ibz can operate as both a central midfielder and full back and embodies the academy's ‘underdog’ spirit.
Luka Ziger (Goalkeeper): Luka is a towering keeper who has made massive strides in his development since joining us. He has already featured for the U18s this season and has aspirations to play for Croatia, the country of his parents’ birth.
Kai Jennings (centre mid): Kai is a very intelligent midfielder who has a great ability to calm things down and find passes when there seems to be none. He has been with us since he was 7 and has lived within a few miles of Plough Lane his whole life.
Leo Young (centre back): Leo is a player who brings leadership and composure to the back line. He has a great attitude and featured in the same U8s side as Kai.
Kai and Leo (pictured above) are current Under 15s and therefore will start their scholarships in the summer of 2022.
Michael Hamilton said: “I am delighted to present to you these four young talents. I have no doubt in my mind that if they continue applying themselves as they have done up until now, then it won’t be the last time you hear about them. They all possess different qualities, but all embody the culture we develop our players within, which is through hard work and focus, and the belief that anything is possible.
"All four represent different forms of success for the academy. Despite only being 14 / 15 years old, Kai and Leo have been part of the club for 7/8 years with the academy being their whole life. This is testament to the development programme we have here and should send out the message to all our young players that with the right application and willingness to learn the opportunities are here.
“In the cases of ‘Ibs’ and Lukas, their academy life span is less with Ibs joining us as an Under-14 and Luka as a 13-year-old. This shows the scouting department has supported the programme here by identifying players to strengthen our squads.
“The boys are fully aware that they’ve achieved nothing yet, and this is just the next step of where they aim to get to. However, we are really proud of the young men here and are excited to see them take that next step. I’d like to give a mention to Ben Foshuene (Head of Talent ID), Joe Roberts (ex staff member) and James Oliver Pearce (Lead Youth Phase Coach) for the roles they’ve played in the development of some, if not all, of the above. It is usually the staff members with the Under-18s or within the academy management who get the plaudits when players come through but I can honestly say that none of this would be possible without the efforts and qualities of the team.”