Young midfielder James Rowland gives an insight into his Town academy experience.
As part of the #RaisedInTheEFL week, Shrewsbury Town are continuing to highlight the clubs academy success stories.
Town have a history and tradition in developing players and promoting young talent into the first-team.
James Rowland is one of the latest young players to feature for Town’s first-team – despite being only 17-years-old.
The first-year scholar is enjoying his football recently and hopes to keep seeing the benefits of his hard work.
“It has always been a dream of mine to play professional football,” said the midfielder.
“I came here at the end of the 14’s year and started my first full season at 15. I feel like I have come on a long way since I came in.
“I have to keep working hard. I had to work hard to get the scholarship – which I got quite early.
“All the coaches have been very good with me and it’s helped me get where I am now. I am still a first-year trying to look like a second-year and look like a pro.”
James has recently featured sporadically in the Town senior team and is proud to have worn Town’s Blue and Amber shirt.
“It’s all happened very quick,” said James. “It has opened my eyes to what first-team football is like.
“I have enjoyed being involved a lot – it has been a challenge, which has been very good.
“I played a lot of 18’s football last year which helped a lot and put me in a position to start this season well.
“I feel like coming here has given me a chance to get noticed and I might not have had that first-team opportunity at other clubs.
“There is a clear progression path here if you are willing to work hard and you have talent – hard work is the key, key thing.
“I had aims at the start of the season but nothing this far – maybe to get on the bench in the Checkatrade, but I have exceeded that and have set new targets.
“It was a great feeling to play in the Checkatrade. I was a bit nervous but the first couple of touches got rid of that.”