JOSHUA Tracey’s name will not be included in Derry City panel for tonight’s game against Shamrock Rovers, but the Galliagh teenager was sensationally fast-tracked into the Brandywell first team squad yesterday afternoon.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
But that will not trouble the St. Brigid’s College “A” Level student who has put pen to paper on two years professional contract for his home town club.
A current N. Ireland Under-17 international, Josh netted a superb goal against Holland in the recent international which finished 2-2 and while he’s certainly enjoying his football at the moment, he also acknowledges the fact that he’s keen to secure his “A” Levels at St. Brigid’s as a back-up.
Having played all his youth football in the Derry & District Youth F.A. with Top of the Hill Celtic - the only team he stayed with - Josh played a significant role in helping Derry City claim the First Division title recently.
And while he hopes to eventually secure a full-time contract with a cross-Channel club, the 17-year-old is the first to admit that he’s not ready for that challenge just yet.
“I love playing football with Derry City,” he said. “I’ve been part of the youth set-up and I have always enjoyed the involvement. But I also hope to get my A Levels at St. Brigid’s while playing football at the same time,” said the versatile striker.
“I’ve always been focused on football and while I would like to get a full-time job in the game, I think that’s further down the line hopefully. If it happens well and good, but I’m just delighted to be playing for Derry City at the moment,” he added.
Tracey, who comes highly recommended by Derry’s youth development coaches - Eddie Seydak, John Quigg and Hugh Harkin - continues to impress in the club’s Youth Academy and for Brandywell boss, Declan Devine, he’s the latest young player to graduate.
“Josh has done really well in the underage set-up,” said Devine. “He’s the latest youngster to come through and there are others close to making the breakthrough,” he insisted.
“Josh is a very talented young player who can play either at centre-forward or across the front-line. We’re delighted he has made it through but this is where the hard work commences. Other players such as Ryan Curran, Michael Duffy and Tony McNamee have graduated into the first panel and Josh will join them in first team training sessions from next week onwards.”
Devine claimed that Derry City would continue to go down the route of youth development. “Our priority is to develop local young talent but, at the same time, we are open to assisting the development of other young players who wish to come and join us. Our record over recent seasons has proved that our coaching methods do help youngsters progress and we’ve now gained a reputation that we are well placed to prepare young players for full-time football in England or Scotland,” he concluded.
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