Six Barber youngsters make United switch

Mark Barber with the six youngsters who have joined Leeds United
Mark Barber with the six youngsters who have joined Leeds United

The Mark Barber Elite Football Programme is proving to be a huge success.

The George Pindar College and Hull University-based set-up has already forged great links with Championship side Leeds United.

And after just five months of working alongside former Boro men Denny Ingram and Tony Hackworth to improve the progression of the town’s players, six young boys have already gone on to join up with Leeds’ development centre.

Theo Watson, Jacob Hakings and Sutton Greening have all joined the Leeds elite group, while Lewis Shields, Harry Holder and Ralph Stubbings have all signed up for the development shadow squad.

Barber is keen to see more progression from his young players in the final stages of the programme’s first year.

He said: “The development centre is now entering its fifth month, Denny, Tony and myself couldn’t be happier with how it has started.

“We have already had six boys go through to Thorp Arch, three of which have gone into the highest group for their age groups.

“Within our programme the coaching the children get is of a high quality.

“I have worked for three years in an academy with some fantastic players and coaches, Denny is an ex-professional and has been in the game for nearly 20 years, while Tony has played in the Champions League for Leeds.

“The experience and quality of coaching is what you would expect in an academy set-up and is a fantastic opportunity for our players, not just having the opportunity to play through at Leeds, but to develop and improve the standard in this area as well.”

As part of the programme, fixtures have been organised against the I2I Academy, the Ultimate Soccer School and Hessle Sports.

Barber also took a group of players to tackle Leeds United’s elite group.

He added: “This was great for the boys to see that with hard work and concentration at sessions they will get the opportunity at Leeds.

“The set-up and standard proved to everyone that the Academy is up there with the best in the country and the opportunity that we have created is a realistic one for the boys achieve.”

To contact Mark call 07533753948.