ONE of the Staffordshire Moorlands rising young football stars is gearing up for what could be a very rewarding weekend.
Jordan Brown (pictured) from Cresswell, near Blythe Bridge, plays the Derby County U18’s, who are on the verge of claiming the Premier League U18 championship for the first time in the club’s history.
The young Rams go into their final game of the season away to Wolves three points clear at the top of the table.
If second-placed Liverpool fail to beat Middlesborough at home, then the title will go to Derby whatever result they take from the Wolves game at Shrewsbury Sports Village (11am).
Former Cheadle SMU junior player Jordan, aged 17, has enjoyed a remarkable season with Derby U18’s.
The team got to the brink of the quarter-final stage of the FA Youth Cup, before being knocked out by Manchester City 2-1 after an unusual below-par performance at Pride Park.
The young Rams were made to pay for a rare show of bad discipline that led to two of their players being sent of for off-the-ball incidents.
Tempers got the better of the Derby players after they surrendered a 1-0 interval lead by conceding two goals in as many minutes in the second half.
The result ended a nine-game winning streak for Derby who have been coasting along in Premier League U18 this season with good performances against the likes of top clubs Liverpool, Manchester United, and Everton.
As a result some team members including Jordan have found themselves promoted to the Derby U23 team and invited to train with the club’s Championship squad under the watchful eye pf manager Frank Lampard, the former Chelsea and England star.
“We have got ourselves in a great position and we are going for it,” said an excited Jordan, ahead of Saturday’s U18’s game against Wolves.
Jordan joined the Derby youth set-up only two years ago, after being released by Stoke City, following six years in the Potters academy.
“It’s the worst feeling in football for someone to basically say you are not good enough. It was a massive blow to my confidence, but I had my family and friends around to support me,” he said.
Such has been Jordan’s relentlessd progress with Derby after being converted from an initial striker’s role to that of a reliable defender.
Jordan’s reward has been a professional contract at the end of a two-year scholarship.