RUSSELL SLADE has picked three talented amateur footballers to spend a week training with the first team as they bid to win Samsung’s Win A Pro Contract competition.
Midfielder Jack Sherratt, 19, of Stoke-on-Trent, and strikers Claudio Hoban, 21, of Northampton and Kayden Jackson, 18, of Bradford impressed Slade in the Final of the nationwide competition.
The players made last night’s Final at the Matchroom Stadium after progressing through a series of trials, beating off more than 5,000 entrants to reach the last 11.
They took on an O’s XI containing youth team players and first year professionals, narrowly losing the game 3-2.
Slade will now assess the players when they join the first-team squad for a week of intense training in February.
Slade said: “The final was a really good standard, very competitive right from the start. All of the players showed terrific commitment and effort.
“Jack likes to pick a pass. He’s got good energy and can get up and down the pitch effectively.
“Claudio was very positive on the ball. He’s got a good left foot and loves to take defenders on and go past them.
“Kayden is very quick. The game got stretched towards the end and his pace made him stand out.
“The players who weren’t picked need to keep working hard to play at the highest level they possibly can. They shouldn’t give up.
“They all love the game, otherwise they wouldn’t have put themselves through this process. They did brilliantly so make it so far in the competition.”
The three players will also spend a week training with Swindon Town before Slade and Paolo Di Canio each reward one player with a life-changing year-long professional contract.
Sky Sports will be showing a three-part series on SamsungWin A Pro Contract starting in mid-March.