Doyle relishing the chance to Saddle up in cup
COVENTRY teenager Alfie Bates took a huge step towards fulfilling his dream of becoming a professional footballer when he made his debut for Walsall last month.
The former Coundon Court schoolboy has been on quite a journey.
He suffered the devastating blow of losing his mum to cancer five years ago before being released by Birmingham City, aged 15.
But the determined midfielder made her a promise that he’d ‘make it,’ and his hard work and determination paid off when he was picked by Saddlers’ boss Dean Keates to face Middlesbrough Under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy.
“It’s been a journey all right,” said the 17-year-old, who is a big Sky Blues fan, going to both Wembley finals in recent seasons.
“My mum used to take me to football when I was little.
“When she was very ill before she passed away I told her that I was going to be a professional footballer, whatever it takes.
“That’s what drives me on every day.”
Alfie also lost another close family member nine months ago when his great granddad Alf, after whom he was named, died aged 92.
“I want to establish myself as a League One pro and then play at the highest level I can,” said Alfie.
“I am still on a scholarship, so not signed a pro contract yet but hopefully I will be able to do that.
“Players are usually offered their first pro contracts at the end of their second year so hopefully I can earn that by the end of this season.”
Alfie comes from a sporty family with his mum Lesley Mallows and his two sisters, Carly, aged 18 and Holly, 14, talented athletes with Coventry Godiva and representing England.
Carly became the fastest under15 hurdler in England in 2014, breaking the record set by legendary
I have been training with the first team for a while now and just to get my first appearance was really good and it’s all about looking to my future
now. Olympian Denise Lewis at the West Midlands Athletics Championships. Incredibly, her mum set the record for the 800 metres race at the same event in 1987.
Devoted mum Lesley used to take Alfie to football training and trials as a small boy while dad Wayne was busy setting up his business.
He started out at Coundon Court Juniors before a short spell training with the Sky Blues Academy aged seven, before being taken on by Birmingham City.
“I had trials at Coventry and spent a few weeks there but they didn’t seem that keen on me so I went to Birmingham and stayed there until I was 15,” he said.
“I was always quite small as a kid and my height has been an issue for some people. I am only 5ft 7 now but I am filling out a bit and it’s not so much of an issue
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