Doncaster Rovers continue to look at the next generation of the club and the 'ones to watch' for the future.Seventeen year old defender and identical twin Mitchell Lund has been offered a professional contract with Doncaster Rovers and is expected to put pen to paper in July following the expiration of his youth contract.
Starting his football career at Leeds City Boys, Lund signed for Doncaster Rovers Academy at the age of 12 in 2009, after being scouted by Head of Recruitment Ben Mawson.
“Like everyone else, I just started playing Sunday League football with my friends, I was lucky enough to get spotted and get a trial with Doncaster Rovers and I’ve just gone from there.
“We started our season well this year. Unfortunately we had a blip half way through that allowed Bradford to run away with the league and we couldn’t catch them.
“I think I had a bit of a rough start to the season but once I got going I was happy with how I did and feel like I was consistent throughout.”
Head of Recruitment at Doncaster Rovers, Ben Mawson who bought Mitchell to the club in 2009 said; “I coached Mitchell for the first 6 months he was here. I was always confident he would be offered a contract as he moved up. He’s had a fantastic attitude all the way through and has the potential to do well if he works hard.”
Lund has joined Ben Askins, Lewis Ferguson and Billy Whitehouse who have also been offered professional contracts with the club, but all the boys had to wait until the end of May to receive their offers.
“I was very nervous towards the end of the season when I didn’t know if I would be a Doncaster Rovers footballer next season. It starts to affect your game because you just don’t know what you'll do if you don’t get offered that contract.
“Words can’t explain what it felt like when I got the offer. I was really excited, and I still am now. I just want the season to start.
“We see a lot of the first team players at the training ground. If they ever need players during their sessions, we fill in for the spare positions. It’s good for us to be around players who we look up to as role models. If we try and follow in their footsteps we know we’re on the right track.
“Next season will be completely different though. We have to make the step up to the first team and work had to stay there.
“I’ve got to keep fit over the summer and work hard when we come back for pre season to try and prove myself to the manager.”
Whilst the transition from youth team to first team is a big step, Professional Development Phase Head Coach, Paul Stancliffe, believes the experience at the training ground with the first team players is indispensable to the youngsters.
July will see the 4 new youngsters link up with Paul Dickov’s first team squad, and be put through their paces as they compete for a place in the first team.
Manager Paul Dickov said: “To have players coming through the youth set up is vitally important to the long term future of any football club. We are delighted to give the 4 players this opportunity.
“All the lads that have come through and been offered contracts have something to offer. When and where is now up to me, but if they show the right endeavor and application they will be given the same chance as everyone else.”
Doncaster Rovers Youth Development system is part funded by the Rovers Alliance, an exclusive members club.
They recently received a cheque from loyal fan Barry Hopkinson who sadly passed away and left his royalties to Doncaster Rovers, in the hope of continuing the growth of the academy.
Doncaster Rovers would like to thank all alliance members for their continued support to the Youth Team.
If you would like to join the alliance, please email email@example.com or call 01302 764664.