NLP: Long Tips Jake To Follow In Vardy’s Footsteps

Alvechurch boss Ian Long is tipping Jake Wakeling to emulate Jamie Vardy’s rise from Non-League after Leicester City tabled an offer to the young striker.

Wakeling, 19, signed for the Southern League Premier Central side in the summer after being dumped by West Bromwich Albion’s academy.

After scoring seven goals in eight games, a host of Premier League clubs came calling – with rumours a five-figure deal is all but signed.

“There’s been a few clubs interested in him,” said Long.

“There’s certainly an offer on the table. We haven’t got him on contract, so we probably won’t see anything from it, but we wouldn’t want to put any stumbling blocks in his way.

“He’s come in and worked his socks off. What he lacks in technical ability he makes up for with his endeavour and work ethic, I think he’s got his rewards in front of goal because of that.

“He went on trial, scored two against Brighton at the Amex and then asked if he could play for us against Stourbridge on Monday.

“We can’t really claim that we’ve helped his progression because he’s only been here since pre-season, but it just shows that there is still a pathway from Non-League.

“There’s no stopping him. You don’t want to put too much pressure on him, but he has got the work ethic to go really far. Hopefully he goes on and kicks on if something gets sorted.”

The Worcestershire-based club have made a habit of seeing future stars pass through their ranks. Long’s focus now is just to find a way to replace his top scorer.

“It’s great for our club that we’ve given him a platform,” he added.

“We’ve had a few over the years. We had Josh March who went on to Forest Green and Yusuf Ceesay-Ceesay who signed for Blackpool.

“We hope something like this can help us attract the next up and coming star because we haven’t got the finances that some clubs at our level have so we end up giving opportunities to some of the younger lads.

“I’m more concerned now about replacing him. He scores a lot of goals so I’m looking at where we can replace the goals. It’s not going to be easy.”

This article was also published in the Non-League Paper.

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