With the Kick it Out Week of Action fast approaching, LFE were pleased to hear promising teenager Warren Burrell of Mansfield Town signed professional terms this summer after a helping hand from Football Unites, Racism Divides.
Growing up in inner city Sheffield, Warren says his life could have easily taken the wrong direction. But thanks to football, personal dedication and the support of anti-racism project Football Unites, Racism Divides, midfielder Burrell is now looking forward to a promising career.
The 18-year-old signed a professional contract with the Stags at the end of last season having completed his two-year Apprenticeship. He is looking to help the relegated Conference side return to the Football League.
Warren grew up in Fir Vale, Sheffield, and although he loved playing football, he’d never seriously considered playing for a living. He said,
“I was drifting at school and playing for a junior club in my spare time, I didn’t take it seriously and things could have been very different for me. When I was a bit older I went to a youth club and there were some coaching sessions going on which I was encouraged to join.”
“Luis Silva from the Football Unites, Racism Divides organisation was leading the coaching and I went along. It was the best thing I’ve ever done. Teams come to him looking for talent and that came across pretty quickly. He’s really well respected.”
Burrell, who made his debut on the final day of the season, continued to attend coaching sessions and former Chile international Luis Silva helped him improve many aspects of his game. Burrell said,
“Luis taught me about discipline and he’s got a way about him that lads respect. If you mess about you’re out and that’s how it is at league clubs.”
Burrell spent a year at Sheffield United’s Academy but after a trial at Mansfield he was offered an Apprenticeship.
“I spent two years at Mansfield and at the end of last season I was given a professional deal. I made my first team debut in the last game of the season against Dagenham and Redbridge which was great but we were relegated and so it was a day of mixed emotions really.”
“I hope to break into the team this season and hope we can come straight back up. Billy McEwan, the gaffer, is great and I’m learning a lot.”