Port Vale: Ede - Davis is shining light for Valiants' new recruits
YOUTH boss Mick Ede has welcomed the next generation of potential Port Vale stars by pointing to young defender Joe Davis as their role model.
Eight youngsters, all aged 16, signed up as first-year apprentices this week, hoping to follow in the footsteps of defender Davis, who broke into the first team this season.
Ede hopes the new recruits will see the 18-year-old, who has now been offered a professional contract, as a shining example.
"Joe has shown the youngsters that the opportunity is there to progress," he said.
"He is a natural leader anyway, but all of the other kids look up to him and I hope the new boys will too.
"They appreciate his professional attitude and why he has been given his chance. They want the same thing."
The new crop are centre-backs Nathan Smith (Audley) and Matthew Bartlett (Wolverhampton), left-back Matthew Warner (Wolverhampton), midfielders Luke Wright (Cannock), Elliot Osbourne (Alsager) and Dave Lander (Wolverhampton), and strikers Macauley Davies (Newcastle) and Luke Beesley (Knutsford).
"They were involved in our Youth League games at the end of the season and all played in the final match, when we beat Oldham 2-0," explained Ede.
"They all have talent and I think they may be hard to handle for opponents.."
The lads will join the club full-time at the end of June and can expect an immediate shock to the system.
"They will go straight into pre-season with the first team," said Ede. "It will be tough, but as long as they try their hardest, then they'll get the manager's respect."