Academy football is a route to success for every young footballer. Training, developing and eventually succeeding. I was given the chance to follow Burton’s academy whilst they trained and learnt how this side functioned behind the scenes.

However, as with most scholarship schemes, the players in the academies are always playing for their futures.

Burton Albion’s is no different, and at 10.30 am, a group of seven players and a handful of coaches headed to the training pitch.

The group I was with were talented players, but not lucky ones, as the rest of their teammates were taken to first-team training, leaving the lot I was with to be borderline ostracised.

The training ground was none other than St. Georges, the hub of all England teams, and amidst the glamour of the location was the training session that lasted for 2 hours. 120 minutes filled with passes, shots and laughter.

Once the small session ended, we headed inside to warm up quickly, before a short coach ride back to the Brewers’ own Pirelli Stadium.

The session contained nothing but young men, aiming for greater heights, aged between 16 and 18. Most on their first year of the squad, but one in their second.

Connor Pace, a midfielder for the academy, was the only one there who was in his final year, but he wasn’t stressed by the pressure and was well in motion of planning his future.

“All the lads plan backups…I have already done my UEFA C…I’m gonna go into getting my UEFA B license”

-Connor PACe

He wasn’t phased by the fact that he may not get a contract offer, and seemed ready to focus on furthering his career in coaching and studying, with Connor then stating that he is “also doing a degree in physical therapy”.

Full interview with Connor Pace

The other side of the academy sees Spencer Cook, a first year, slowly learning how to develop his skills further.

Set up for the interview with presumptions of being shy, Spencer then became more than happy to detail his life.

He highlighted the major moment of it all, with it being

“Signing a scholarship with Burton, honestly”.

-Spencer Cook

Full interview with Spencer Cook

This season for Burton’s academy has been a successful one, with the side top of their league with games in hand.

More poignantly though, there was a very successful run to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup, including a brilliant 3-1 victory against Aston Villa’s U18 squad, which saw Connor Pace get a full 90 minutes in a memorable game for the team.