Fifteen-year-old prospect heading in direction of Spireites first team

Spireites prospect Will Russ (Pic: Paul Kellett)
Spireites prospect Will Russ (Pic: Paul Kellett)
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There’s another exciting prospect rolling along the Chesterfield FC academy conveyor belt in the direction of the first team.

Forward Will Russ, who has just been called up for an age group international by Wales, will soon feature in training with the senior players according to boss Gary Caldwell.

The 15-year-old will take on Gibraltar later this month.

“He’s someone we have big hopes for,” said Caldwell.

“We’ve tried to get him up with the first team training but it’s not quite materialised yet.

“We’ll hopefully get him up soon.

“Guy (Branston, head of recruitment and development) was instrumental with getting him into the international set-up and tells me he’s excellent, someone that he sees stepping up through the levels to play in the first team.”

Caldwell has been a big supporter of the club’s academy, bringing several young players into the first team fold.

He’s keen to get the chance to work with Russ too in the coming weeks and months.

“He’s another one on the conveyor belt of talent coming through the academy.

“When the opportunity comes he’ll train with us and we’ll get a look at him.

“I think it’s massive that we have an academy, it’s not something I’ve ever considered looking at or getting away from.

“We develop players, not only to play but to finance the club and that’s massive for clubs like Chesterfield.

“It’s a big positive that we have such a good one.”

Academy boss Mark Smith has long known that Russ was a special talent.

“He’s somebody who we identified as being different from the norm, even when he first came in to the academy two seasons ago,” he said..

“He’s a really good size and mature for his age. He’s U15 age, but we’ve been playing him up to the U16s since he was 14-years-old.

“We’ve already made him an offer in terms of a scholarship - which we don’t often do - and he’s accepted, which is brilliant for us.

“It’s another feather in the cap for the academy, but the main thing is that it’s well deserved. We think he’s got a lot of potential and hopefully this is just the start of even more international recognition.”

Smith says the teenager is a throw-back to old-fashioned centre forwards and expects him to set tongues wagging among the scouting community.

“The call-up will improve his confidence. If he has any doubts about himself then it should make him more confident,” he said.

“It gives him and his family recognition, and he’ll probably be targeted in games and scouts will talk about him.

“We’ve already had a few enquiries and getting a call up for Wales will alert more scouts to him, but we don’t want to lose him.

“He had a week at Liverpool last season and they said he was a different class. He came out on top in all of their testing.”