Curt Morrison’s breakthrough into the Chesterfield first team isn’t just a boost for the talented youngster – it will spur on all those coming behind him.
And academy boss Mark Smith says Morrison’s success is also a pat on the back for the coaching staff working with youngsters at the Proact.
The 18-year-old made his Spireites Football League debut on Saturday at Shrewsbury, becoming the 1,111th player to represent the club in league action.
Smith is delighted for the winger, who has been with the club since the tender age of nine but was known to Chesterfield’s academy manager prior to that when he played in a Sheffield United development group.
He said: “I know Curtis quite well.
“He’s a very, very humble kid, you get no bravado, he gets his head down, works to the best of his ability – he’s a pleasure to work with, gives you no problems.
“It’s great to see that he’s getting into the first team because he’s a great kid.
“He’s very coachable, listens to what you’re trying to tell him and importantly tries to take it on board.”
Smith, who was caretaker manager for the first team before Danny Wilson came in, is grateful to the Chesterfield gaffer for making life in the academy feel very worthwhile.
“For us working in the academy it’s really good to see what you’re there for, it’s great to see one of the youngsters making his debut,” he said.
“We look for opportunities and for the manager to help us out, kids getting a chance and the gaffer seems to be really up on that, we’ve had quite a few involved in pre-season.”
Wilson’s willingness to promote young talent this summer was something of a breath of fresh air for Smith and his academy staff.
“Curtis has been on the bench, Derek Daly has been on the bench a few times, you have Laurence Maguire and Jake Beesley getting close, they’re all being given opportunities.
“That’s quite important for us, it gives you a bit of a boost because in the past we’ve maybe tried to get players through and it hasn’t happened.”
And watching Morrison stride out onto the New Meadow pitch last weekend to replace Dan Gardner with three minutes remaining should have been a moment of real inspiration for other teenagers hoping to make it as professionals at the Proact.
Smith said: “As soon as one makes a breakthrough then it’s encouraging for us and should be for the other youngsters.
“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, we will get an opportunity and in the past that hasn’t always been the case.
“That’s vital for us and a club like Chesterfield, for the kids at the top end of the Academy to see that.”
Morrison, who signed his first professional contract with the Spireites this summer along with fellow 18-year-old Daly, can also play up front.