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Earlier this week we reported on the six new under-23 squad signings and while we await any potential changes to the first team squad there is now news of the eleven new scholars who have joined the under-18s this week at the start of pre-season training.

1617 burnley jon pepper 500x500Four of those players have been with the club for at least two years, coming through the junior teams. All of them were members of last season’s under-16s with some of them having already made their youth team debuts.

We are also welcoming a further seven players who have previously been playing for other clubs although some of this group also played in the youth team during the 2017/18 season.

The four who have come through from the under-16s are midfielders Joe Conley and Rhys Fenlon along with forwards Mitchell George and Matthew O’Neill and they are joined by goalkeeper Harry Allen, full backs Kane Patterson and Matty Rain, central defenders Udoka Chimna and Edon Pruti, midfielder Jaydon Major and wide, attacking player Joe Conn-Clarke.

Allen left Manchester United in January of this year. He’s been with us ever since and was with the youth team towards the end of the season. It was the same for left-back Matty Rain who left Liverpool while new right-back Kane Patterson has come from Spurs. Although from Wycombe, he’s featured for Scotland at under-16 level.

The two central defenders, like Patterson, are travelling north. Chimna has been signed from Stevenage while Pruti was playing grassroots football in London.

Wide midfielder Major, like Rain, has joined us from Liverpool whilst Conn-Clarke has followed a path that has been familiar over the years, like so many players before him, he’s joined us from Glentoran where he was always known as Cricky Conn.

Academy manager Jon Pepper (pictured above) said: We are really looking forward to the new intake of scholars coming in next season. We have a large number of exciting attacking players to add to our existing group as well as a whole new defensive line and goalkeeper to bolster the squad. There will be a lot of competition for places for the under-18s next season.”

He added: “Nicky Law, in the recruitment department, has worked tremendously hard to bring in a number of players from outside to add to the players who have progressed through our own Academy.

“The rise in the profile of the club, the elite training facilities and the growing reputation of the Academy has helped us recruit players from the top clubs in the country, as well as giving opportunities for players from lower levels the chance to develop.

“I am looking forward to seeing the players integrate and develop as a group, and hopefully we will see individuals progressing onto the U23 Development Squad at some stage over the course of their scholarship.”

Up the Clarets would like to wish all of them the very best as they start their football careers at Burnley.

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