BROMSGROVE Sporting’s under-21 manager Dave Smith has expressed his delight after promising footballer Ethan Hanks will embark on a career in professional football after joining the International Academy which is linked to League One outfit Chesterfield.
The 17-year-old winger is the latest young talent to make the move from the Victoria Ground to a professional football club, following in the footsteps of Jordan Gibson who made a dream move to Scottish titans Rangers last summer.
Hanks will get the chance to travel around the world to play football and if he proves to be a huge hit, the gifted youngster will make the move up to Chesterfield’s main academy.
The International Academy, also known as the Player Progression Pathway, is legally separate from the League One club but uses the same logo as the Spireites and is based at CFC Village directly opposite the Proact Stadium.
Playing his trade for Sporting under-21s in the Midland League Under-21 South division, Hanks made 14 appearances and netted six times, a run of form which attracted the attention of first team manager Paul Smith.
Hanks’ full debut for the first team came back in November for a Smedley Crooke Memorial Charity Cup match against Inkberrow, a game in which he scored in a comfortable 5-0 victory.
Since then, Hanks has been a regular in the first team in the Charity Cup, scoring in the 2-0 victory at Earlswood Town before helping his team to a 4-2 victory over Northfield Town in the semi-finals.
Dave Smith said: “I think it’s a great opportunity for Hanks and it’s fully deserved. He’s a lovely lad, has a great attitude towards football and has that willingness to improve.
“Ethan came to my attention when he was at the under-17s and I brought him into the under-21s towards the back end of last season when he was just 16 years old.
“One of the things I enjoy about being the manager of the under-21s is there is a clear path to the first team and I am pleased Paul has not hesitated to give Hanks the opportunity.
“The rest of the players are delighted for him and it has had an immense effect on the dressing room.
“If Ethan keeps developing and working hard he certainly has the core abilities to make it as a professional footballer.
“He’s not quite the finished article but hopefully going up to Chesterfield will help him become that.”
Sporting are always on the look-out for the next Ethan Hanks and Jordan Gibson. Anyone interested in joining the setup for next season should email firstname.lastname@example.org.