Bury goalkeeper Jack Ruddy has hailed the clubs commitment to promoting young players and says that it was the major factor in him joining the Shakers instead of Liverpool last summer.
The 17-year-old is one of five of the club’s Under-18 squad to agree professional terms with the club over the last few days and he believes that more will follow.
Ruddy and defender Matt Foulds, both first-year apprentices penned professional deals at Gigg Lane over the last week alongside, striker Anthony Dudley, right-back Marcus Poscha and midfielder Sam Burgess who are all in the second year of their apprenticeship.
“When people look at Bury they might just see a decent League Two outfit, but the set-up that has been put in place behind the scenes is really impressive,” said Ruddy, who is the Scotland Under-17 keeper.
“We have got some really good players coming through the system and are getting good results at every level.”
“Our U18s side are contenders for the league title and the U16s recently won their league.”
Ruddy has already sampled life in the first-team environment after being named as substitute on half a dozen occasions this term.
And the former Rangers academy player believes that experience has helped propel his development as a player forward.
“The youth set-up they have here convinced me to choose Bury when I was looking for a club over the summer,” he added.
“Earning a professional contract was always my goal, but I don’t think I would have been able to achieve that quite so quickly if it wasn’t for the coaching I have received here.”
“Training with the first-team squad has really moved me along.”
“It’s obviously a big learning curve because the senior players are stronger, quicker and think and react faster on the pitch.”
“And I think the fact the manager (David Flitcroft) and his coaching staff take such an interest in the youth team players has a big impact.”
“I don’t think you would find that at many other clubs.”
While Ruddy and his fellow youth-team graduates will officially join Flitcroft’s first-team squad in the summer their immediate focus is on winning the Football League North West Youth Alliance division.
Currently second in the table, the Shakers U18’s squad has been infused with self-assurance after a solid showing in a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford in the 3rd Round of the FA Youth Cup.
“I think we have the best players of any team in the league, so hopefully we can win it,” Ruddy added.
“The way we performed at Old Trafford gave us all a lot of confidence and hopefully that experience of playing on such a big stage will help us when we make the step up to senior football.”