Preston North End’s Josh Earl is one of several academy players hoping to earn a professional contract in the next year.
Earl was one of the four players in the U18s defence against Carlisle United, with the second year scholar turning in an impressive performance at left-back in a goalless draw.
On that result, Earl said: “As a team we’re disappointed that we didn’t get the three points, but overall I thought we played quite well in some stages of the game. There are some areas we need to improve on but all in all we did pretty well, we just need to finish our chances.”
Now in his second year as an academy scholar, Earl believes he has taken on some extra responsibility in the team during his more recent development: “I feel like I’ve become a bit more of a leader and more mature in the way I play. I’m playing ‘the right way’ instead of going backwards with the ball and I’m making the right decisions on the pitch much more often.
That increasing sense of maturity was evident against Carlisle as Earl, who also revealed his intention to win this year’s Youth Alliance league title with the U18s, came up against a difficult opposition right-winger: “I coped well against him. It happens in football, but sometimes you just have to get on with it because that’s part of the game.
“To be honest, I’m just happy to be on the pitch no matter where I play. I’ll always do my best for the team wherever I get the chance.”