Real hope for fu­ture with this ar­ray of tal­ent


The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY -

AS head of scout­ing for Notts County, I’m do­ing some­thing like 3,000 miles a month. And, at the last count, I’d al­ready been to 74 games this sea­son.

So, with a third of the cam­paign gone, I de­cided to pick a side of the best XI play­ers I’ve seen so far. Some are al­ready well known, oth­ers just kids with a ker­nel of prom­ise, but all of them are worth the price of a ticket.

GK: Keiren West­wood, Sh­eff Wed

By far the best goal­keeper out­side the Premier League. An in­ter­na­tional, an im­pos­ing build, a good shot-stop­per and great kicker of the ball. He’s got the lot – there isn’t a weak­ness in his game.

RB: El­liott He­witt, Notts County

And not just be­cause he’s one of ours. El­liott is 6ft 1in, a mod­ern day full-back. He can ma­raud for­ward, he can play mul­ti­ple po­si­tions – he’s some­one I really ex­pect to kick on af­ter the dis­ap­point­ment of mov­ing to Ip­swich at 17 and then get­ting in­jured. He’s get­ting fit­ter ev­ery game and, come Christ­mas, I think you’ll see the qual­ity he has. He can throw it ab­so­lutely miles, too.

CB: Reece Burke, Brad­ford

A big, strong, strap­ping lad who heads and kicks it a mile. He came through at West Ham and you can see that Premier League pedi­gree in his tech­nique.

CB: Tom Lees, Sh­effield Weds

An­other from Wed­nes­day, who I’ve seen a lot of this year.Tom’s not the tallest of cen­tre-halves but his po­si­tion­ing and an­tic­i­pa­tion is ex­cel­lent in what­ever po­si­tion he plays.Why Leeds let him go last year I’ll never know. I can only as­sume it was a fi­nan­cial de­ci­sion.

LB: Gavin Smith, Barns­ley

In a side that’s been very poor this year, he’s been the shin­ing light.The Tykes have al­ready pro­duced John Stones and Ma­son Hol­gate, and this lad is next in line for a big move. He’s got a lot of abil­ity and he’s great go­ing for­ward. Not as ath­letic as Hol­gate, but prob­a­bly more gifted.

RM: De­marai Gray, Birm­ing­ham City

Ob­vi­ous, I know, but im­pos­si­ble to ig­nore. Pace, power, hard to deal with, an in­cred­i­bly tal­ented foot­baller who will be part of the Eng­land squad be­fore long.

CM: Jer­maine An­der­son, Peter­bor­ough

An Eng­land U20 in­ter­na­tional who is big and strong and can play all over the park. I’ve seen him play at cen­tre-half, full-back, cen­tral de­fence. A tremen­dous all-round ath­lete who can play a bit, too.

CM: Louis Reed, Sh­effield Utd

He’s tiny – he looks about four foot one! But his ar­ray of pass­ing is ridicu­lous and he con­stantly makes things hap­pen.The 18year-old is eas­ily a Cham­pi­onship player – and only his stature will stop him play­ing higher.

LM: Bran­don Barker, Rother­ham

I’m good mates with Eng­land U20 coach Richie Barker and, watch­ing them train, I’ve got a lot of hope for our fu­ture. Bran­don Barker, who is cur­rently on loan at Rother­ham from Man City, is the bright­est of the lot. Quick and strong, he’s like Chris Wad­dle the way he weaves and moves around the pitch. He can cross, fin­ish and take peo­ple on. At 18, he has a bright fu­ture.

AM: Adam Arm­strong, Coven­try

I tried to get him for County last sea­son, but they wouldn’t let us have him be­cause they ex­pected him to be part of New­cas­tle United’s first team. Now he’s show­ing why by bang­ing in goals left, right and cen­tre for Coven­try in League One. He small, but he’s strong and makes fan­tas­tic runs.

CF: Chris Martin, Derby

The best out-and-out cen­tre for­ward in the League. I re­mem­ber play­ing against him when he was at Nor­wich as a kid. He kept drop­ping into pock­ets, driv­ing me mad. I smashed him on the half­way line. He got up and shook it off. I did it again and again and again. He even­tu­ally got up and said, calm as you like,‘ If you do that again, I’m gonna get you’. I just laughed. I thought ‘This lad is go­ing to make it’. And he has.

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