Rising star thriving at Matlock after ex-Ram’s recommendation

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A youngster who was recommended by a former Derby County and Sheffield United defender is thriving in the Gladiators’ youth set-up.

Right-back Eddie Finney is another name on the long list of promising talents rising through the ranks at Matlock, however, this young Gladiator arrived at Town with recommendation from retired professional Robert Kozluk.

Kozluk, who was also a right-back, knows Finney’s family through coaching work at the Rams’ academy and put in a good word for Eddie to get a trial at the start of this year, from where the 16-year-old was snapped up.

Finney said: “His son plays with my little brother so my dad was quite good mates with him and he’s a coach at Derby’s academy too.

“He gave a good word for me at Matlock and then I got a trial and just progressed from there.”

In under a year Finney has gone from playing with the under-17s to regularly featuring with the reserves this season.

Like many of the other academy prospects, Finney has the ability whilst also remaining grounded in his ambitions, with his eyes firmly set on his own progression and his spot in the Gladiators’ reserves.

“I feel like men’s football is hard to develop to but I feel like I’m adapting well, although I’ve still got developing to do body-wise and I need to grow a bit too.

“I want to be starting for the reserves. I’m not too fussed about first team at the minute cause I’m only 16, that’s for the future.

“I just want to cement my place in the reserves and win the league with my academy side,” said Finney, who has played a part in helping the U17s to four wins from four in their league.

He added: “We just play as a team because a lot of the players that are playing here have played with each other for about three years before Matlock. We’ve all progressed from similar teams.

“It’s all just down to playing together, I think, we all know how to play as a team and we have a good awareness of each other so I feel that’s a big part to it.”

Eddie was keen to not underplay the role of the development team in his and his teammates’ progression.

“It’s great here, for lads like us in the development sector there’s a great atmosphere,” he said.