Ex-Cambridge United defender Dan Gleeson backs Haverhill Borough goalkeeper James Young to catch attention of professional clubs
Teenage Haverhill Borough goalkeeper James Young has ‘an outstanding chance’ of making it as a professional.
That is the view of the club’s player-coach Dan Gleeson, who knows what it takes having featured for Cambridge United 168 times, as well as enjoying stints with Notts County and Luton Town.
The 35-year-old right-back revealed in last week’s Echo he is looking forward to a second campaign turning out for the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North side.
And the enjoyment he got from helping the young talent to emerge at Borough certainly played a big part in that decision.
Reflecting on his first campaign at Step 6, he admitted to being blown away by the ability of Young, in particular.
“There are some younger players there and there have been a couple of strand-outs,” he said.
“Tom Thulborn has been fantastic and scored a lot of goals but not only that, he works hard for the team.
“The biggest one for me though is the goalkeeper who has been absolutely unbelievable and was only 17-18.
“If he continues to progress as he is and performs how he has been I think then local professional clubs would be stupid not to look at him; he has been that good.”
Young actually started the season with higher-league New Croft neighbours Haverhill Rovers, making nine full appearances.
But Borough’s loan keeper, Shay Griffiths, was recalled to St Neots Town in November, 15 games in, to step in for their injured Haverhill-born Cambridge United stopper Finley Iron.
With then Rovers boss James Bloomfield short of forwards, the Haverhill clubs agreed a swap deal with Young and Bobby Friel.
The 13 appearances which followed saw Young, on Cambridge United’s Shadow Scholars scheme, run in conjunction with Cambridge Regional College, catch former professional Gleeson’s eye.
“He has been very commanding for a young lad and makes good decisions. I cannot speak highly enough of the lad. He has great work ethic and ability. He’s got an outstanding chance,” he said.
Young’s run in Guy Habbin’s Step 6 side came in a period where their improved form eased any relegation worries before the coronavirus outbreak halted the campaign.
Borough were 17th in the table, fourth from bottom, with 11 games still left to play.
Manager Habbin, who felt they were set to continue an upward trajectory if the season had finished, said: “James is not just highly respected by Gleeson and the staff but for an 18-year-old to fit in with lads who have played Steps 5 and 6 for a long time speaks volumes.”
More by this authorRussell Claydon