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475 and Counting

League Football Education’s Assessment Trials have created an astonishing 475 opportunities for young players.

This is the total number of enquires made in players after the four day long series of events that took place at Staines Town, Hartpury College, Walsall and Oldham Athletic.

The scouts came from the professional and non league game in the UK and abroad, while Universities from Britain and the USA were also represented.

250 players all aged between 18 – 19, strutted their stuff in front of a record number of 175 scouts.

While it is not possible to understand whether any players have successfully signed for club’s at this stage LFE is encouraged to see well over 400 potential opportunities created directly from the trials.

Despite many of these opportunities coming from non league clubs and universities some players do look to have a chance of making it back in to the full-time game.

“I’ve noted a couple down that I think have done okay and I’ll keep tabs and see where they go from here,” said Walsall Manager Dean Smith.

He added: “For me, football’s all about opinions and there’s a lot of different clubs who want different things. I come to look at the players and see if anything’s going to take my eye which I think can be an addition to our squad.”

The Conference National is known as a stepping stone back into the league and Kidderminster Harriers Manager Steve Burr believes some players will fit the bill.

“It’s quite nice to watch them in a game situation but we’ll look to try and get one or two of these lads in pre-season for ourselves.”

He continued: “We’re looking at lads with good fitness levels and lads who can step in to the hurly burly of the Conference because it’s a tough league and obviously the physical presence of some of them is important.”

LFE is also in the process of sending 22 young players on placements to Swedish and Spanish clubs and Projects Manager Dan Jolley is pleased by the number of openings that are being created for young players released by English clubs.

“The Assessment Trials always prove massively popular with the scouts and we’ve had some fantastic success stories in terms of players being released and going on to better things. You only need to look at the likes of Liam Kelly (Kilmarnock) to see that players can still make the grade if given the chance,” said Jolley.

“The European player placement programme is an add on that provides youngster with the chance to play and train at European clubs and again that has yielded positive results in the past. Last year 5 players ended up signing pro deals at Swedish clubs so there is definitely a demand for our players,” he added.

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