Shadow Scholarship | Martin Devaney Interview

The Shadow Scholarship squad haven’t started pre-season training yet – but Academy Lead PDP Coach Martin Devaney is already looking to progress players through the ranks at Barnsley FC.

While the Reds in the Community scheme will act as a separate entity to the Academy, the natural progression will still be in place should players meet the required standards.

A number of youngsters have signed up to the initiative with many more set to follow from the local area and other football clubs.

And Devaney admitted that he is already aware of some of the exciting players who could progress into professional football.

He said: “They’ll have to reach their targets. If they do that both on and off the pitch then they’ll get an opportunity to come in and train with us. There might be a few late developers. There’s names that I’ve already been made aware of that weren’t quite ready at the moment but they might be ready in a year’s time, in two years’ time.

“There will be contact daily, monitoring the lads, maybe watching some of the games. They will always have the opportunity to come and watch us as well so it’s closely linked. It’s going to be a continuation of the standards that we set within the Academy which are very professional. There’s always a carrot being dangled for these boys who come in and do the education. If they do well in both areas, then they can get an opportunity to play with us.”

The playing aspects of the Shadow Scholarship do provide plenty to get excited about but the young adults will also be studying on the Reds in the Community education programmes.

Professional football is just one of a number of exit routes from the Shadow Scholarship, with their also being a huge emphasis on education and employability.

Devaney made over 400 appearances during his professional football career, most notably playing for hometown club Cheltenham and Barnsley FC.

However, the 37-year-old was keen to stress that the education side of the Shadow Scholarship has to come first.

“I think it’s really good for the community and the club. I think it’s going to enhance the reputation of the club and hopefully bring in some more local talent. Most importantly from this programme, it is the education. First and foremost, it’s for continuing their education but they are getting a second chance to train every day and get coached by a highly-qualified coach in Mark Tinker.”

For more information on the Shadow Scholarship programme, please click here: