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Five Key Academy Graduates

16 June 2016

As the new season approaches we take the time to look at progress of the Youth structure at Doncaster Rovers.

As the new season approaches we take the time to look at progress of the Youth structure at Doncaster Rovers. 

Rovers have provided the grounding for many players to go on and have careers in and around the Football League – some of whom are still in the game despite hanging up their boots long ago – and who could be next as we embark upon a new era of talent coming through the ranks.

Having been very successful during the 70s and 80s, the early 90s also bore fruit with the likes of Paul Raven, Nicky Limber and Steve Gaughan all being part of a very successful team under the stewardship of a young Steve Beaglehole. 

Though the mid-late nineties witnessed a (temporary) end to what was a successful youth programme, it was revitalised partly due to the arrival of former graduates – and brothers – Ian and Glynn Snodin. 

The Doncaster Rovers Centre of Excellence was formed in 2003 and underlined how the structure had gone from strength to strength when it duly received praise from across the Football League.

Today, operating as a Category 3 Academy, the youth system can boast many graduates that have gone on to play in the 1st team including Anthony Griffith, Liam Wakefield and Liam Mandeville among many.

Therefore, as we look forward to the next generation we take a look at 5 of the best: 

Mark Rankine – Midfielder - Played in the 1988 FA Youth Cup Final defeat to Arsenal and went on to make close to 200 appearances for Rovers. His career took him to Wolverhampton Wanderers, Preston North End, Sheffield United and Tranmere Rovers.

Rufus Brevett – Full Back - Came through the Rovers Youth ranks at the same time as Rankine and made 129 appearances for Rovers before a big money move to Queens Park Rangers. The left back also enjoyed spells with Fulham, West Ham United and Plymouth Argyle.

Glynn Snodin – Full Back - Locally born, Snodin was given his first team opportunity with Rovers as a sixteen year old. A diminutive but tenacious full back, he sits 8th on our all time appearances list (345), and would go on to play for Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds United and Barnsley. Since retiring, he has become a respected coach and undertaken roles with Rovers, Northern Ireland, West Ham United, Leeds, Huddersfield Town and now Preston.

James Husband – Full Back - Husband started life at Leeds United but joined Doncaster at 16 years of age. Having spotted potential in the young man, Husband grew and developed into a competent young player under the guidance of the Youth staff at the club. The flying left back made 73 appearances and scored four goals for Doncaster before transferring to Middlesbrough as part of a swap deal involving striker Curtis Main. Husband, who made his debut against the Boro, now finds himself as part of a Premier League squad – alongside another former Rovers favourite George Friend – that will visit Keepmoat Stadium in pre-season.

Harry Middleton – Midfielder - The 21 year old is just two games shy of making 50 appearances for Rovers, having made his debut back in 2012. Doncaster-born Middleton has grown in stature - literally and metaphorically - for the club since coming through the academy and is a shining example to youngsters at the club.

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