Leeds United have taken a non-league teenager on trial with a possibility of him joining the Academy.
18 year-old Ashton Hall of Matlock Town FC recently played with the U18s in a match, and he’s reportedly been given a chance to join up with the U23s. Matlock Town boss Dave Frecklington had high praise for his defender’s performance, saying:
Ashton’s been training with the Leeds under twenty three’s and then played for the under eighteen side against Shrewsbury. He was excellent, outstanding, playing on the right of a back three in the first half and on the right of a back four in the second half. He’d gone into the game off the cuff with just one training session with Leeds so to step up and play so well with a totally new group of people was brilliant. His attitude and application has always been outstanding and I’m really really pleased for him. He’ll be training with the under 23’s again for the rest of the week, It’ll give Leeds the opportunity to take a really good look at him and to make a decision on him at the beginning of nest week. He didn’t put a foot wrong against Shrewsbury and looked like he’d been there for all of his career.
Matlock Town has recently sent two other players to the Football League, with players joining Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday over the past year or so, and Hall appears to be the next player from the Derbyshire club to make the move up the footballing pyramid. Frecklington sounded proud of his team’s Academy and how Hall has adjusted to first-team football, and is excited for the chance that Hall has to make it at a club like Leeds, saying:
He’s been fantastic for us but needs to go to a Football League club to enhance his development” Frecklington added. “His attributes far outweigh the non league game. This football club must be doing something right with Max and Zak earlier moving to Football League clubs and very good ones at that. It gives us confidence that we know we can drop into our academy for potential first team players. When I came into the building I looked at Ashton and could see there was a player in there, with the greatest respect he’s head and shoulders above academy and reserve team level, he just needed to get adjusted to the physicality of the Northern Premier League. I’ve been offered Academy players on loan from Football League clubs but I’ve turned them down. What’s the point in having our academy if we don’t use it? I’d rather give our academy players the chance. We’ve a fantastic set up here at Matlock and our academy gives young lads who are being released from Football League teams some belief that there’s a pathway to the first team, We must be right up there with non league clubs who are giving young players the chance to compete at first team level and Ashton’s the talk of the town, the name on our supporters’ lips so it’s full credit to the people who run our academy and everyone behind the scenes at Matlock that these young lads are getting noticed and having the chance of making a career for themselves in full time football.
It’s good to see a manager excited about the chance an 18 year-old footballer has to make the move up into the League, rather than try and hang on to him and deny the lad a chance to make it big. Of course, it’s not entirely altruistic, as if Matlock Town get the reputation for getting youth players a chance to go to bigger clubs, they will be sought out as a destination for area youth players and that will only serve to make the club more successful as well.
Here’s hoping that young Ashton Hall is able to make the jump to the U23s and perhaps even don the famous Leeds kit at Elland Road one day.