Dave Edwards discusses his youth-team experience with Town.
Shrewsbury Town are celebrating the EFL’s #RaisedInTheEFL week and will be highlighting some success stories from the Town academy.
Town’s academy has a history of promoting young players into the first-team and utilising the clubs production line of young talent.
Dave Edwards graduated the Town academy in 2003 and has gone on to win international caps and made a number of appearances in the Premier League.
Town’s midfielder recognised the importance of the academy and feels Shrewsbury Town is a great place to start for any young player.
“Coming through here was great for me personally,” said Dave. “It’s nice to play for a team that you have supported and watched.
“I came through the Centre of Excellence at the time. Shrewsbury were in such a position at the time that if you were good enough you would be chucked straight in.
“I was very fortunate to come through at this football club and to be playing first-team football at 17.
“The young players who are very, very good sometimes get hand-picked by Premier League sides but if you’re at a lower league club you will get your chance.
“I was very grateful to have got that experience and that’s what stood me in good stead to have a long career.
“This academy has always had a history of producing good players. We have some really good young players here.
“We have also had lads play for Shrewsbury and then go on to international honours – that’s something to be proud of.
“You look at the likes of Joe Hart who has gone on to be England number one and has played for one of the best teams in the world.”
Dave feels the EFL provides a good platform for players to shine and earn opportunities to play senior first-team football.
“Even if you are at a lower league club the football journey really can take you anywhere – it’s a long career if you do it right and Shrewsbury can be that stepping stone.
“It’s a football club where you can enjoy getting your experience while on that journey.
“We aren’t blessed with being able to get the best players in the world and having the biggest budget.
“If you have a young player who is good enough for the first-team, it will be much cheaper than going out and buying someone.
“The club will always invest in the youth and if they think there is a player who has potential to be in the first-team they will always be given a chance.
“There are a few lads now who are getting that experience. It’s a long journey and I feel it is better to do it our way.
“It’s better to work your way up the football pyramid, rather than starting at the top and sliding down.
“It can be a culture shock if you leave a Premier League club on a loan to League One or League Two clubs.
“If you learn at this level you learn the right values and morals of what it is to be a professional footballer.”