Thursday, 03 September 2015

Barrow teen ace handed Premier League deal

IT was the best birthday present Sam Joel could ever have wished for.

On the day he turned 14, the young striker walked into the office at the Blackburn Rovers Academy and was offered a full-time deal with the Premier League club.

Sam has been part of the Ewood Park set-up since he was seven – his talents having been spotted from an early age while he was playing at Holker Old Boys.

And Sam’s efforts, skills and performances with Rovers have not gone unnoticed, with an offer for him to move to Blackburn and train with them full-time just reward.

“It’s a great present for me,” said the Furness Academy pupil.

“They told us earlier in the year that something along these lines might be happening, so it wasn’t totally unexpected, but it was great news.

“I didn’t know all the ins and out of it, so it was great to find out on my birthday.

“It’s great down there. It’s a family club and they welcome you in with open arms.

“The coaches and the people there are all great.”

The talented teenager will now live in Blackburn, where he will receive private tuition from teachers at the club’s ground and be in the Rovers environment, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Already a key part of the under-14s side, who play against teams from other North West Premier League Academies, he will be in the under-16s or youth team next season.

Nothing should daunt Sam, however, as he has already taken on Juventus, Espanyol, Lyon and Marseilles and played in tournaments in France.

Currently, he takes every Wednesday off school to train with the club, making the trip down on Tuesday night and returning late the next day.

He is coached by former Barrow AFC striker Terry McPhillips, one of the head men at the Academy, and Sam believes more exposure to the set-up will only be a good thing.

“Being full-time, it will be just on my doorstep. I will be there all the time and I won’t be tired by the time I get there with travelling, it will be great,” said the former Yarlside School pupil, who currently racks up 25,000 miles each year travelling to and from training and matches.

“It will help my game. I will be able to learn new skills and practise what I am good at/ Hopefully it will help me progress into an even better footballer.

“My aims are to keep progressing and just see where it takes me.

“Wherever my future takes me, hopefully I will be able to stay in football and be a good footballer in the future.”

Dad Barry is confident Sam can keep on progressing through the game to whatever level he wants.

He has seen the effort his son has put in for the past seven years, and said: “It’s a massive investment on their part. It’s a private school, it’s housing on the academy campus and all his needs looked after.

“They’re putting all their eggs in one basket with him, so they have high hopes for him.

“It’s down to his development now. If he develops, he has a great chance to achieve all they want him to.

“It’s fantastic news for him. I don’t think there’s ever been a better present he has been given in his life.

“We had a big meeting on his birthday and they offered him these terms and conditions.

“He put it on Facebook straightaway – the best present I’ve ever had – he was made up. It’s down to him now, to keep on working. He has got a great chance down there.

“It’s a great life for him. It’s going to make something of him, and myself and Sam believe he can go all the way – that’s the belief we have had from day one. He has something.”

Have your say

well done sam you have worked hard for this and i hope you keep up the great work

Posted by livvy joel on 22 July 2011 at 23:56

well done sam good luck

Posted by ryan everett on 18 May 2011 at 09:59

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