In line with the EFL’s Youth Development Week, which celebrates clubs developing young English players, Barnsley Football Club is proud to offer a pathway for outstanding local talent.
The Reds, no stranger to producing academy prospects that go on and represent the first team, have been working closely with our Reds in the Community charity in order to provide an alternative route into professional football.
The Shadow Scholarship gives players aged 16-19 a chance to play at a competitive level, while also gaining an education in the process, and works collaboratively with the Oakwell academy to ensure that any emerging talent can potentially earn a first-year scholar if they impress.
One youngster who has done enough to secure such a contract with Barnsley is Callum Walmsley, who put pen to paper on his deal last week after a number of stunning performances with the Shadow Scholars and a successful trial period with the Reds’ U18s.
Walmsley, 17, is Barnsley born and bred, and was over the moon to be given an opportunity to join the Oakwell ranks.
“I’m extremely delighted, considering it’s the club I’ve supported since I was young,” said the defender. “You always want to play for the team you support and care about, so for it to actually happen I’m really happy.”
Mark Tinker, Shadow Scholarship Coach, says Walmsley is an example of how the partnership between Reds in the Community and Barnsley Football Club can benefit both parties.
“It’s a perfect example of the Shadow Squad working,” insisted Tinker. “From the start, we didn’t promise anyone in any form that this would be the case. However, we’ve put players on a platform now and given them an opportunity with the strength and the link with the football club in order to make this happen.”
Barnsley Academy Manager Bobby Hassell was full of praise for the programme, believing it gives a second chance to players who may have been unable to break through a football clubs elsewhere in the country.
“This is what it was designed for,” admitted Hassell. “When Mark approached us about this programme setting up before the season, we were fully behind it as a football club and an academy – for this very purpose, for the lads that perhaps you don’t see or that have been at other clubs and been rejected; they get that second chance.”