LFE takes a closer look at the players to make ‘The 11’ in February 2021 and why they have been included:
Dylan Adjei-Hersey (AFC Wimbledon)
Dylan has been a model apprentice, performing at a tremendous standard academically, as well as establishing himself as a rising star on the pitch, featuring for AFC Wimbledon’s Under-23s side.
The 18-year-old is on track to achieve D*D*D* in his BTEC Extended Diploma and has also starred on the FA Level 2 Coaching course, while he clinched a third-round FA Youth Cup tie against Burnley with a superb free-kick that was nominated for LFE’s December Goal of the Month.
“Dylan leads by example both on and off the pitch,” Stuart Page, Head of Academy Education, told LFE. “At a time when second-year boys are anxious if they will be given a professional contract, Dylan maintains a consistently level-headed approach and ensures he gets things right in all aspects of his apprenticeship.
“He has now completed his NVQ to an exceptionally high quality and demonstrated a real depth of understanding and appreciation of the qualification in his personal development. Dylan is regularly lauded by his teachers at Southfields Academy.
“He is demonstrating a real talent for coaching and is being singled out as one of the best young coaches in his group. On the football front, Dylan has returned to fabulous form after a prolonged injury and is attracting the regular attention of the first-team management.”
Rob Apter (Blackpool)
Midfielder Rob penned his first professional contract in November, securing his future at Blackpool until the summer of 2022, having been a hugely productive performer for the club’s Under-18s.
The 17-year-old made his professional debut in the same month during a 3-0 victory over Leeds United Under-21s in the Papa John’s Trophy, and recently bagged an assist on his Sky Bet League One debut against Wigan Athletic, while he also featured in LFE’s Goal of the Season 2019-20 after winning the monthly competition in November 2019.
Head of Education Will Cowell told LFE: “Rob raises his own standards, always striving for excellence both on and off the pitch. He is conscientious, motivated and resilient.
“Rob is currently on target to achieve D*D*D* on the BTEC Extended Diploma and has recently been rewarded for demonstrating a consistent attitude and approach over the last 16 months with a step up to the first team.”
Olivier Sukiennicki (Bradford City)
Originally from Poland, Olivier is a boarder at Woodhouse Grove School, where Bradford City’s apprentices undertake their educational programme, and is often seen in the evening developing skills and techniques in the school gym.
The 17-year-old midfielder was handed a senior debut as a late substitute in the Papa John’s Trophy against Oldham Athletic in November, while he has completed his Functional Skills in maths and is achieving Distinction grades on the BTEC Diploma.
LFE Regional Officer Pat Lally said: “Olivier is a hard-working, gifted player who gives 100 per cent in training and competitive games. The Manager has been very impressed with everything he has seen regarding Olivier’s overall attitude and ability.
“In the classroom, he is currently working exceptionally hard to keep on top of all the work he is required to complete, while he has also started doing extended units in his spare time.”
Louis Chadwick (Cambridge United)
Second-year goalkeeper Louis has spent most of the season on work experience at St Neots Town in the Southern League, with his impressive performances encouraging Cambridge United to move him into the first-team training bubble under the tutelage of Goalkeeping Coach Mark Bunn.
Despite his considerable football commitments, Louis has managed his time effectively in order to maintain focus on his studies, completing all of his BTEC units to Distinction standard so far.
Vanessa Walker, Head of Education, told LFE: “Going out to play men’s football has challenged Louis to deal with the physicality of that type of football and the hope that teams would target him as a young goalkeeper. At the moment, Louis is coping very well and starting to show the character required to play men’s football.
“Alongside his developing performances, Louis displays all the elite habits that we try to instil in our young academy players and he’s a fine young man. Academically, Louis has been working remotely, due to being with the first team and St Neots. He has always been slightly ahead of schedule on the BTEC Extended Diploma.”
Nohan Kenneh (Leeds United)
England youth international Nohan has been an outstanding performer on and off the pitch, having stepped up to training with Leeds United’s first team while maintaining a D*D*D* grade profile on the BTEC Extended Diploma.
The highly-rated midfielder was handed his first professional contract on his 17th birthday in January 2020 and has already become a key player for the club at Under-23 level.
“Nohan displays an exceptional attitude to his football development and is thriving in academy life,” Under-23s Coach Mark Jackson told LFE. “He engages not only in his own development but strives to positively influence others around him and sets a great example to the younger players around him.”
Lead BTEC Tutor Vikki Slee added: “Nohan has proved to be a highly intelligent and mature scholar, who strives for excellence both on and off the pitch. Despite having to train with the Under-23s and first-team squad, as well as his numerous international call-ups, Nohan has managed to work independently, producing work ahead of deadlines to a very high standard.
“He has one piece of work left to complete in order to exceed his original target grade on the BTEC Extended Diploma, which is an outstanding achievement in light of the many challenges he has faced with Covid-related disruptions. Nohan represents an excellent role model to all of our apprentices.”
Josh Scott (Mansfield Town)
Teenage striker Josh joined the first team squad in pre-season and put pen to paper on a two-year professional contract in September after impressing in games against Peterborough United and West Bromwich Albion Under-23s.
The 19-year-old made his senior bow in the same month, featuring in the Papa John’s Trophy against Manchester City, and has since gained further experience on loan at Kettering Town.
Josh has also performed admirably in the classroom, working above his target grade at D*D*D level on the BTEC Extended Diploma, as well as successfully completing all elements of the FA Level 2 Coaching course and is nearing the completion of the NVQ Diploma.
Lead Tutor Chris Fraser told LFE: “Josh’s communication has been exceptional from day one. He makes use of all resources and is way ahead with his work. The work he completes is always original and complete to a very high standard. Of all the apprentices I have taught over my time, Josh stands out as one of the hardest working and professional to date.”
Ollie Bate (Millwall)
Throughout his apprenticeship, Ollie has displayed great commitment to his studies, achieving triple D* grades on the BTEC Extended Diploma, as well as being a standout student on the new SEP programme.
The 17-year-old forward has also enjoyed a fine run of form on the pitch, scoring seven goals in his last three Under-18s games, including a hat-trick during a 6-1 victory against Bristol City.
“Ollie’s work has been outstanding,” Paul Tighe, Head of Education & Player Welfare, told LFE. “As one of the pilot clubs for the SEP, our second-years are due to go through gateway soon, and Ollie’s portfolio of evidence and mock interview video have been used as exemplars as the standard to aim for.
“Last season, Ollie had some injuries that held him back, but he has established himself as an integral part of the Under-18s team this year and has also recently trained and played for the Under-23s. He has been the model apprentice in every single aspect and deserves some recognition.”
Bryan Ly (Morecambe)
Bryan has showcased impressive dedication to his academic work in recent months, moving up from the Diploma to the Extended Diploma, and is currently on track to earn a triple Distinction grade profile.
The second-year apprentice has also made steady progress on the pitch, chipping in with a few goals from midfield for the Under-18s, including a stunner against Accrington Stanley that saw him nominated for LFE’s Goal of the Month earlier this season.
LFE Regional Officer Sarah Kayley said: “Bryan maintains a consistently excellent attitude to the programme and everything he does. He is an extremely mature member of the group and always conducts himself in a professional manner.
“Having already completed his NVQ, it has been really impressive to see his commitment to taking on the extra units on the Extended Diploma, ensuring he will have plenty of alternative options if he does not receive a professional contract.”
Flynn Clarke (Peterborough United)
Exciting talent Flynn has become a regular fixture in Peterborough United’s first-team squad this season, having penned his first professional contract as a first-year apprentice back in December 2019.
The Scotland Under-19 international has featured 10 times across four competitions for Posh, including five starts, since making his debut in the Carabao Cup in September, and found the net in all three Papa John’s Trophy group games.
Academy Manager Kieran Scarff told LFE: “Flynn is a polite, respectful and focused young man, who was named Player of the Round for the EFL Trophy group stages after scoring three goals in three games.
“Flynn is on track to successfully complete his education framework, working at least in line with his target grades. He is also very aware of the role he plays in the community and provides support for club staff whenever asked.
“Flynn has hosted Q&A sessions with younger academy players and local schoolchildren and he also donated to local initiatives that provide food for young children when they are not at school.”
Luke Chambers (Port Vale)
Under-18s captain Luke has made continual improvements to his ability and game understanding, which led to a place on Port Vale’s bench for their goalless Sky Bet League Two draw at Bradford City in December.
Off the pitch, Luke has identified the need to have an alternative career pathway if a route into full-time football is not currently available. The 18-year-old is striding towards acquiring D*D*D* grades on the Extended Diploma, while he has completed his personal statement as part of an application to universities offering courses in criminology.
Chris Taylor, Head of Education, told LFE: “Having worked in education for over 30 years, I have rarely met any young person who has the ability, drive and enthusiasm to succeed in everything he tackles, using a visionary focus on both his football and in his education.
“Luke is always striving to improve and enhance his experiences and is never afraid to ask for advice and guidance from tutors, coaches and management staff. All of Luke’s coaches have commented on his reliability and responsible attitude, and these attributes have been seen throughout this challenging season.
“He already exhibits life skills of someone many years older. Due to his wholehearted commitment, willingness to listen and ability to take on information, Luke has the respect of all his teammates. When things get tough on the field, Luke is the one everyone relies on and turns to for advice and support. I have no doubt that Luke will succeed in everything he sets his mind to in the future.”
Jacob Holland-Wilkinson (Preston North End)
Jacob has set a high standard this season, attaining top grades on the BTEC Extended Diploma, as well as making great strides in his development as a player, following successful loan spells at Lancaster City and Kendal Town.
The 18-year-old striker, whose spectacular FA Youth Cup volley won LFE’s Goal of the Month competition in December 2019, has trained with Preston North End’s first team since November and been an unused substitute on eight occasions so far.
“Jacob works really hard and always showcases terrific professionalism,” said LFE Regional Officer Sarah Kayley. “Having put in additional work over the summer, he has completed his NVQ and remains on track to gain D*D*D* grades on the Extended Diploma.
“Jacob’s work ethic in the classroom is replicated on the pitch, which has seen him progress rapidly into the first team. The experience he gained from playing men’s football on loan has helped him push on and Jacob’s excellent attitude will ensure that he is well prepared to take full advantage of the opportunities presented to him.”