The Club is pleased to announce a number of players from the Academy have signed scholarship agreements from 1st July 2013. Academy Director Huw Jennings gives us the lowdown on each of our young hopefuls:
Wesley McDonald - “Wesley came to us from Crystal Palace at the age of 12 and is one of a number enrolled at Coombe School*. He is a central midfield player who always looks to break the play up and get us moving forward; he can chip in with a goal or two as well. He recovered from a very nasty knee injury last year when he had to have an operation and was out for six months, but he’s recovered in time to be fit for the start of the season which is encouraging.”
Magnus Norman* - “A goalkeeper who has been with the Club since he was eight-years-old, Magnus is a local boy. He’s always been a prominent goalkeeper in his age group and his younger brother Felix is also with us at the Academy.”
Aaron Redford - “A striker who has progressed through the Coombe School programme and has had a lot of injury problems. He suffered a difficult injury to his ankle and then his back, so he is not in full training but he is starting to make progress. When fully fit he’s quick and a good runner who is good at stretching defences and getting into positions to score.”
Patrick Roberts* - “Pat played a lot for the Under-18s last year and also made the step to play for England Under-16s in the Victory Shield competition amongst others. He is a very talented wide player and can also play in the number 10 role.”
Josh Smile* - “He came to us from Oxford United at 14-years-old and is another to be enrolled in the Coombe School. He’s a central midfielder who sits deep and has a nice eye for a pass to move the team forward.”
Mehki Leacock-McLeod* - “He is from Chiswick and has been with us for a long time. Mehki is a wide player who is very quick and strong. He’s getting over a broken foot at the moment and is very powerful and direct. He’s skilful on the ball and also has an eye for goal.”
Ryheem Sheckleford* - “From Brixton, Ryheem arrived here at 14 years of age. He can play centre-back but predominantly he’s a right-back; very athletic, he gets up and down the line very well and he is a strong defender.”
One player has also been brought into the Club from outside of the Academy, Slovakia goalkeeper Marek Rodak from MFK Kosice.
Huw says: “We brought Marek in last year on his 16th birthday from Slovakia. He established himself as the number one goalkeeper in the Under-18s last year and also played for the Under-19s at the Dallas Cup. He walked away with two winners’ medals in two months, so he will be looking to continue his good start at the Club.”
*Currently, 50 Fulham youngsters are enrolled at Coombe School, which is located very close to the training ground at Motspur Park. The school has made a major contribution in the development of the players highlighted: Wesley McDonald, Magnus Norman, Josh Smile, Patrick Roberts, Mehki Leacock-McLeod, Ryheem Sheckleford.