Sam Ricketts and Brian Caldwell spoke to Shrewsweb about the pathway to first team football from the Academy
Recent games against Port Vale and Stoke City have demonstrated the chances that the Academy players are getting in the first team. Ryan Sears scored his first goal for Shrewsbury Town against Port Vale, meanwhile, Ryan Barnett became the youngest player in Shrewsbury Town history to score a penalty. James Rowland also put in a stand out performance as he was awarded Man Of The Match.
16-year-old Sam Agius also featured on the bench in Town’s historic win over Stoke City in the FA Cup third round replay.
Sam Ricketts told Shrewsweb how Shrewsbury is a fantastic platform for young, up and coming talent.
“We have to always be promoting youth and we’ve done that in the games that we can do. If you’re a young player now, I have full belief in saying if you really want to be a footballer don’t be sucked in by the limelight of the big clubs because the chances of you getting in the first team are very very small.
“Whereas with Shrewsbury you will get a chance, you will get an opportunity to be around the first team, to train, to play and to be on the bench. You’re giving yourself the best opportunity to be a footballer.”
Brian Caldwell also empathised how Shrewsbury creates a pathway for young players unlike bigger clubs in higher divisions.
“It was great to see three of our Academy graduates on the bench against Stoke. James Rowland has impressed in the Checkatrade this season. It’s been a great experience for him.
“Ryan Sears as well has come through the Academy. It’s great that we’re showing that there is a pathway for young players to come to Shrewsbury as there will be chances to play in the first team.
“The Academy has improved massively in the last few years with Eric and Andy Jones before that so I think it’s important we continue the development of it and try and improve it going forward.
“There is a pathway as I’ve said before, the likes of Wolves who probably don’t have the pathway that we’ve got now with them being in the premier league. So it’s important we capitalise on that and get the best young talent in the area to come and play for Shrewsbury Town.”