Young Derbyshire players wanted for Leeds United’s elite development scholarship

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The development manager at Matlock Town is playing a key role in an initiative by a Championship — and possibly Premier League bound — football club.

Justin Telus is heading up Leeds United’s plans for a new elite player development scholarship for teenagers aged 16 to 18 across Derbyshire.

He is urging interested parents and teenagers to get in touch now as places on the programme will be limited.

The football trials will be held on Saturday.

The new initiative, which was announced in early April, offers school leavers the chance to attain a Level 3 BTEC whilst playing elite level football.

Alongside Leeds United Sports College, the scholarship will be coached by DFK International.

It consists of former professional footballers Brian Deane, Noel Whelan, Andy Kiwomya and director of football at the Derbyshire hub, Justin Tellus.

Tellus, formerly of the Maltese Premier League, has played in both UEFA club competitions, the Europa League and the Champions League, for Birkirkara FC and Valletta FC.

He now takes charge of the 16 to 21-year-olds at Matlock as well as his role with DFK International.

“The trials are a fantastic opportunity for prospective Year 12 students are interested in joining our elite player development scholarship, which will be based at our Derbyshire hub,” he said.

“Players that may have been missed through our recruitment network have the opportunity to attend these trials that will be centred around talent identification and player pathways.”

“The players missed through our recruitment includes those who have previously been in professional clubs, with elite development centre experience, potential late developers and talented players in grassroots.”

Parents have also been invited to attend the trial date to learn further information about the educational side of the full-time programme.

“This is a great opportunity for any potential applicants, who are school leavers, with a good level of football ability,” Tellus added.

“The programme is perfect for young athletes who are currently in Year 11, who are committed to developing in both football and academic studies.

“However, unfortunately, there are only limited spaces available on the trial day so any potential applicants should get in touch sooner rather than later.”

The football trials will take place at the University of Derby Sports Centre on Saturday, 11th May.

School leavers and parents can find out further information or book a place on the trials at the Derbyshire hub by emailing: Justin.Tellus02@gmail.com.

A base has yet to be announced for the project, but it will be in Derbyshire and cover the whole county.

Coaches on the project alingside Tellus, Brian Deane, Noel Whelan, Andy Kiwomya, have a vast experience as Football League players.

Deane, a striker and legend at Sheffield United and Leeds, was manager of Sarpsborg 08 in Norway, alongside other coaching experience. He also played at the top level in Portugal and Australia.

Kiwomya, who played more than 40 matches for Bradford City, also has notable coaching pedigree, including with Huddersfield Town.

Whelan is a former academy coach at Derby County. He played as a striker for Leeds, Coventry City and Middlesborough in a long playing career.