Crewe Alexandra have announced the signing of five schoolboys on their first scholarship and professional contracts.
Academy schoolboys George Ray, Max Clayton, Ben Garratt, Brendan Daniels and Nick Powell have all been offered and accepted terms to complete a two-year Apprenticeship before turning professional with the Club after their 17th birthday.
Under new regulations, this is the first time the Club has been able to offer contracts of this type to Academy players.
Midfielder Powell and forward Clayton have already claimed international youth honours with the England Under-16 squad.
Powell was recently involved in England’s Victory Shield success and both have recently called up for a friendly UEFA Tournament in France where they narrowly finished runners-up to Portugal in the final.
Both boys are local to the Crewe area with Clayton from Nantwich and Powell from Haslington. Max is the son of the former Crewe Alexandra striker Paul Clayton and his brother Harry currently plays for the Club’s Under-18 side.
Centre-half George Ray originates from Warrington, Brendan Daniels is a forward from Stoke-on-Trent and goalkeeper Ben Garratt is from Market Drayton.
Following the signing of the five Academy youngsters, Dario Gradi said:
“We have some outstanding young players in our Academy over all of the age groups and these five youngsters have emerged from a strong group.”
“They all have the potential to progress as footballers and play in our first-team. The most important thing is that they settle into their scholarships and work as hard as they can. They are all good footballers capable of pushing for a first-team place in the future but they will have to stay focussed and develop physically first.”
“We are obviously delighted to have players of this calibre eager to turn professional with us and it will be an exciting time for everyone.”