NEW professional Josh Nearney has received a glowing endorsement of his talent.
But now the Hartlepool United teenager has been urged to grasp his first-team chance.
The central defender was handed a professional deal, only the second of his year group to progress from scholars after Brad Walker.
His youth team coach John Hewitson praised the technique and composure of the teenager.
However insisted that the Newcastle-born player still has learning to do before pressing for first-team selection.
Hewitson told SportMail: “Josh has got work to do to get to first-team level. He’ll be in the development group, reserve squad.
“It depends on how he comes back after the summer break and performs.
“He has to adapt to the professional environment because it’s very different to the youth environment.
“Josh and Brad were always the consistent performers each week.
“You could rely on them all the time to do what was asked of them.”
Nearney’s and Walker’s technical attributes justifies the style of play Hewitson enforces.
While a seventh-placed finish in the league for the youth team last season may not be worth boasting about, Hewitson says development of players takes precedence.
“As the adage goes – the
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table doesn’t lie, you get what you deserve and what you didn’t deserve in the league,” he carried on.
“We tried to keep the ball and play as much football as we could – something we’ll continue to do.
“A lot of the opposition we face are direct and play the long ball, not risking possession or taking gambles.
“We, like the first team do, hold onto the ball and look to play it in the right way.
“That’s to the benefits of Josh who is a technical defender, he can pass the ball, bring the ball out of defence and move into central midfielder.
“We want to develop a large skill set for our players, not just restrict them to one position and one style.”