Academy youngster makes the step up

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There are signs that the Hemel Hempstead Town FC Academy is starting to pay dividends after youngster Jack Waldren made his first team debut on Tuesday night.

Left-back Waldren, 18, came on during the second half of Hemel’s 5-1 win at Chertsey Town in the Red Insure Cup.

After impressing in the academy with his natural pace and composure on the ball, Waldren was called up to play 80 minutes in a behind closed doors game at AFC Dunstable.

During that game he was watched by the Hemel first team management team of Dean Brennan and Stuart Maynard, and they saw enough potential in the youngster to hand him his senior debut.

An academy spokesman said: “Naturally this is huge testament to Jack himself for the hard work, character and ability he has shown, but also to the academy staff – in particular head coach Ryan Gordon who has used all of his youth development experience to hopefully propel another youngster on the road to a football career with Hemel Town FC.

“The first team management have recently reiterated that whilst success in the league is paramount, bringing through youngsters into the first team is crucial if the club are to continue to make the strides forward in the coming months and years.”