Matlock Town academy players Ashton Hall and Connor McMillan have said the grass is greener after they were released from their respective academies for being ‘too short’.
Hall, 18, was at Sheffield United before being released, while McMillan, 16, was at Chesterfield for eight years.
However, both players have found life to be better ever since they joined the Gladiators academy.
Hall said: “I’ve improved better than I ever have at this club and I wouldn’t want to go anywhere at the moment because I’m still improving.”
The centre-back has recently signed a new contract to stay at Causeway Lane after impressing manager Dave Frecklington with his first few senior appearances for the club.
Hall looks like he could be among the next of Matlock’s breakout talent and join the likes of Max Hunt and Zak Brunt who moved to Championship clubs Derby County and Sheffield United respectively.
McMillan agreed with his teammate’s comments. “It did affect me when I first got released because you’ve been there eight years,” he said.
“If I want to be professional footballer then I’ve got to think mindset has to be on, I want to be a different club, start again with new things and carry on what I’m doing.
“There were eight players who got released for being too small, it’s been a regular occurrence but then they don’t wait until you’re taller.”
Town’s academy is a big talking point at the club at the moment with many of the young players moving up to the first team due to several players being currently injured.
With key players Shaun Harrod, Marcus Marshall and Adam Yates unavailable at the moment, Frecklington has called upon the likes of Hall and Jordan Pierrpoint from the academy.
It also shows the depth of the Gladiators academy with players like McMillan still waiting in the wings and ready for a chance to show his potential and skill.
Matlock beat second placed Nantwich Town away from home 4-1 on Saturday with a severely depleted squad. The Gladiators will go into this weekend’s against Bamber Bridge with some of the same problems but will look to make it two league wins on the bounce.