The countdown to yet another season at Oakwell starts today with the players back in to meet and greet the new manager and his staff,  but my focus is on the Academy.

The foundation for clubs looking to save on expenditure starts at Academy level , but in order for us to go forward we have to go back.

A stand out player for me at the time was Jacob Butterfield, a good footballing background learning his trade at Manchester United before his arrival at Oakwell. Watching Jacob you could see he was very comfortable in control of the football not a great tackler but excellent passer of the ball left/right peg being aware of space always looking to link up play essential for any midfielder. As time progressed, it became apparent he would be destined for a 1st team place in 2010/2011, with some outstanding performances from the young Academy graduate.


Moving on, we come to what I tend to call the Barnsley 7 - Connor Branson, Alistair Taylor, Danny Fearnehough, Stevie Bennett, Reuben Noble-Lazarus, Jordan Clarke, Danny Rose. All given a chance to prove their worth or were they?

No doubt it's a question people at clubs all over the country talk about especially parents of players at any level not just Academy.

We'll begin with the defence and work forward. Connor Branson is probably best suited to central defence, a solid defender who on occasion would grab you the odd goal, strong in the tackle not to be taken lightly. Due to an injury Connor seemed to struggle leading up to signing on for the 1st team but made the grade only to be released after one season.

Next we have Alistair Taylor a winger capable of operating on either wing preference (R), a promising Academy talent who has been at the club a very long time. Quick strong loves taking on defenders, getting to the by line looking for that cross. Alistair Taylor from what i saw of his play in the reserves has improved immensely, seems more focused not just on getting the cross in but looking up being aware of his surroundings and his options. Someone once commented that he would be a "real crowd pleaser" and given a chance - you never know. Alistair has been given an extention on his contract time will tell on that - he's got skills!

Danny Fearnehough central/holding midfielder loves a tackle, good on dead ball situations bags of energy and enthusiasm. But with alot of players lacking pace, it's not good, it's something which I believe is a must in the modern game - depending on the players around you. I would have liked to see how he fared at Oakwell.

The Striker I refer to as "The Man", Stevie Bennett has a good head on him, is a good striker of the ball and wasn't shy of a challenge. He could run at defenders hold the ball up for the lads - a player. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't that the type of striker profile for the 1st team??? Ok I'm gonna be honest, whenever i watched Stevie Bennett play I very rarely came away dissatisfied with his performance, he did what was needed all of the time and scored some cracking goals! The mind boggles as to why he wasn't given a chance, hopefully he will keep following the dream - he deserves it.

Reuben Noble-Lazarus started playing with a football (not football with others, just him and the ball) at a very early age - very early. I am not going to go into any details as you have probably read everything written about him already? Going to just go in to positions 4-3-3 anywhere past the defence. 4-4-2 anywhere past the defence. His preferred position is behind striker in the hole and has an eye for the odd goal.

The next player impressed so much Manchester City came calling , after some impressive performances for the Manchester club Jordan Clarke decided to concentrate his efforts on gaining 1st team football at Barnsley. If you want to see excitement and someone who can see a pass, Hello! - Jordan has that attitude you only see in some one who is driven to succeed. His season for me peaked just at the right time. Barnsley vs Nottingham Forest at home in a reserve fixture. The lad played beyond his years that evening in an impressive performance - something that was witnessed by Mark Robins.

Jordan Clarke can operate on either wing probably operate as an attacking three, and also has an eye for a goal too. Most likely be involved with the 1st team at some level but due to signings in recent weeks could possibly be helping the Academy move forward ...

Danny Rose (some say scorer of the best goal ever seen at Oakwell - and I missed it by 2 minutes gutted). When I eventually saw the goal it was a rewind moment absolutely amazing strike. Goal machine Danny Rose hit over 25 league and cup goals last season - an amazing feat for a lad that most certainly loves nothing but hitting the net. An out and out striker who can play up top and do the job, a big strong lad who makes defenders and goalkeepers alike know that they have been in a game. As with Jordan Clarke it may be that he gets some involvement with the 1st team but I feel that Academy football beckons for the young Danny Rose, see if he can better last seasons tally.

Up and coming Defenders to look out for John Stones and Jake Scott!

The thoughts and views expressed here are my own.
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Wilky said...

Readers can follow the author on Twitter @Gr8Football

Thanks for making the effort to create and share this post on here. I'm confident that many other readers value the knowledge and insight you have generously contributed here.

I sincerely hope you will write more in the future too ... for this Barnsley FC Blog - On The Ponty End!

Please pass on our very best wishes also to RNL for the season ahead.

You Reds!

Anonymous said...

I think Steven Bennett was released end of last season mate? I may be wrong though. Good read though!

Gr8Football said...

Thanks for the invite i would never have thought about doing anything like this.

The time is now You Reds!!

Gr8Football said...

Steven Bennett was released yes but why that's the question. He was holding down a regular squad place featuring in more games than Branson, Taylor and Fearnehough.
The player that the academy had wasn't the same player that had a hand full of sub appearances for Barnsley fc.
In my opinion it's down to how he was managed, people skills are very important especially when players start out in the game.
As long as he has an advisor he should be back in the game all being well.