THE ROCHDALE AFC ACADEMY HAS EARNED A REPUTATION IN RECENT YEARS FOR PRODUCING EXCITING YOUNG TALENT.
The latest of those, Dan Adshead, made Rochdale AFC history in September, when he became the Club’s youngest ever player.
At just 16 years and 17 days old, Adshead started in Dale’s Checkatrade Trophy Northern Group C match against Bury.
The youngster took to First Team football superbly, assisting Dale’s second goal in a resounding 4-0 win. Manager Keith Hill was delighted with his performance.
“I always intended on rewarding Dan for what I believe he can become and for what he’s also doing now because he deserves it,” said Hill.
“He has spent a lot of time training with us and he did a full pre-season with us this summer, so it was always my intention to play him.
“As someone who has only just turned 16, he’s obviously still developing physically, but his brain is light years ahead at times.”
“The players love him being on the training pitch and they loved him being out there tonight. Players will run all day for him, they will protect him and they will try to guide him.”
Professional Development Phase Lead Coach Chris Brown believes Adshead’s progression is superb for other players in the Rochdale AFC Academy, and the coaches who have aided his development.
“The Manager has put his trust in him,” said Brown. “He’s wanted to play him, and Dan’s delivered. For the Academy side, it’s absolutely superb. The boys in the Academy can see that pathway and that opportunity.
“Also, it’s great for the staff who have worked really hard with him and kept him grounded. We’ve pushed him and stepped him up in age groups.”
“Dan is still on a route where he needs to improve his game, but the quality he has is superb, and he is a really exciting talent for the Club.”
“The way he is as a person is hugely important for his progression, and he’s got a superb Manager and Assistant Manager to aid his development and help him progress.”
Last year, the Academy was named as the number one Academy in the country for productivity at Category Three level.
It was also ranked second out of all 72 EFL Clubs, and third in the whole country for producing players.
A number of Academy products have featured for the First Team over recent years, including this season.
Vice-Captain Callum Camps, Andy Cannon, Joe Thompson, Matthew Gillam and Aaron Morley have all graduated through the Club and into the First Team reckoning.
Others, such as Scott Hogan and Jamie Allen, have moved to higher divisions having been sold by the Club.
There are also a number of successes at Youth Team level, as Academy players from Under-16’s and Under-15’s teams appear for the Under-18’s side in the EFL Youth Alliance League.
Under-16s Morgan Piper, Musambya Kisimba, Sam Kilner (and, of course, Dan Adshead), along with under-15s defender Luke Matheson have all gained minutes for the Youth Team this season and have equipped themselves superbly, showing the progression young players can go through at the Club.
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