Shrewsbury Town has a history of developing some outstanding young players, we take a closer look at some of those
Shrewsbury Town over the years have produced a number of players #RaisedInEFL who have gone on to play in the UK’s top divisions and on the international stage.
The Shrews academy prides themselves on giving potential footballers all the tools and teachings to go on and represent themselves and the club at the highest level.
As part of #RaisedInEFL week, we will look at a small number of graduates who have gone on to raise the bar and compete on the biggest stage.
Born in Pontesbury, Dave Edwards came through the youth ranks in the Shrews academy after joining the club as an apprentice in 2003.
After leaving Town in 2007, after making over 100 appearances, the midfielder went on to join Luton Town. It was at Wolverhampton Wanderers where Edwards unlocked his potential – becoming a pivotal player in the clubs rise to the Premier League.
As well as three seasons in England’s top flight, the midfielder has played his football on the highest stage - the international stage. Edwards has represented Wales and has competed in the 2016 Euro’s – where he helped his country reach the semi-final.
Edwards returned to his boyhood club in the 2019 January transfer window – stating that he wanted to return to where it all began whilst he still felt he was able to offer something to the club.
Born in Wolverhampton Connor Goldson grew up in the Telford area and signed his first professional deal with Shrewsbury Town in 2010 – midway through his scholarship with Town.
The central defender made over 100 appearances for Salop and earned a move to then Championship side Brighton and Hove Albion where he enjoyed three seasons and a promotion to the Premier League.
Connor caught the eye of Scottish giants Rangers in June 2018 and signed a four-year contract – becoming Steven Gerrard’s sixth summer signing. The 26-year-old has become a key part of the Gers squad since joining in the summer.
Ryan Woods joined Shrewsbury Town in 2009 following his release from Walsall. The versatile midfielder, who can also play fullback, singed his first professional deal with Town in May of 2012.
Woods left Town to join championship side Brentford on the first of September 2015 after spending four senior seasons with Salop. Woods left the club having helped Town return to League One at their first attempt.
The 25-year-old midfielder has since moved on from Brentford and now plays his football in the Potteries with Stoke City in the Sky Bet Championship.
Andre Gray is another high profile Shrewsbury Town academy graduate. The forward currently plays for the Premier League’s Watford. The striker began his youth career with Wolverhampton Wanderers but moved to Shropshire in 2004 and earned his first senior minutes with Town.
Since leaving Town in 2010, the forward has spent time in Non-League football but has enjoyed a meteoric rise all the way into the top tier of English football. His former clubs include: Luton Town, Hinckley United, Brentford and Burnley.
Gray won promotion to the Premier League after a stellar season with Burnley in the 2015-16 season – where his side finished top of the pile in the Sky Bet Championship. He joined Watford in 2017 and signed a five-year contract.
England’s former number one started his career in Shropshire with Shrewsbury Town. A boyhood Salop fan, Joe Hart joined Town officially as a boy and signed his first professional deal in 2003.
The shot-stopper enjoyed four senior seasons in Shropshire but left Town in 2006 to join Manchester City. Joe Hart enjoyed an extremely fruitful spell with City and won the Premier League trophy on two occasions, the FA Cup once and the Football League Cup twice.
Hart also spent a number of years being his countries number one and competed in a number of international tournaments for the Three Lions. The 31-year-old currently plays his football for Burnley in the Premier League.
Jon Taylor is another one of Shrewsbury Town’s academy graduates who have gone on to enjoy a career in the Football League. Taylor left Wigan as a boy in 2008 and joined Shrewsbury Town.
The winger appeared for Town on a number of occasions whilst still a youth player and earned his first professional deal prior to the 2010-11 season. Taylor spent five seasons with Town and has a Sky Bet League Two promotion on his CV.
Taylor left Town to join Peterborough United in 2014 but has enjoyed the majority of his success with his current club Rotherham United who play in the Sky Bet Championship. His team won promotion via the Play-Offs last season at the expense of his former club.
Tom Bradshaw is another former Town youth prospect that has gone on to win international caps. The striker joined Town from Aberystwyth as a youth player and spent five seasons in Shropshire before joining Walsall.
The forward enjoyed two seasons with Walsall before earning a move to the Sky Bet Championship with Barnsley. Despite being the clubs joint top goal scorer – he was unable to prevent his side from relegation to League One. Bradshaw’s international caps for Wales came in 2016. He moved from Barnsley to Millwall last summer in a deal that was initially a loan moved but turned into a permanent deal in January.
Shrewsbury Town have always had a reputation for bringing through young players and there have been a number of great players over the years. One fine example of that is…
Bernard McNally is another one of Shrewsbury Town’s academy graduates who have gone on to win international caps. Born in Shrewsbury, the midfielder joined Town as an apprentice in 1980 and spent a number of seasons in Shropshire – also earning his international caps during that time.
The midfielder left Town in 1980 and joined West Midlands outfit West Bromwich Albion and later joined Hednesford Town and Telford United – the team where he ended his career.
After finishing his playing career, the Northern Ireland international went into management and took over the reigns at a number of clubs. Clubs including: AFC Telford, Newtown, Port Talbot Town and Hednesford Town.