Fleming Hails Academy Work
Brandon Fleming has hailed the work being done at the Academy in producing a crop of young players who have proven able to meet the demands of Championship football.
The 19-year-old left-back is one of a number of young players – along with the likes of Dan Batty, Robbie McKenzie, Max Sheaf and Keane Lewis-Potter – to have been given a sample of the first team environment in 2018/19.
Following in the footsteps of Jarrod Bowen, both Batty and McKenzie have enjoyed breakthrough campaigns and established themselves in the first-team set-up, whilst Sheaf and Lewis-Potter have sampled senior action for the first-time.
Fleming himself also made huge strides in 2018/19, making six appearances in all competitions to add to his debut away at Doncaster Rovers in the Carabao Cup back in 2017/18 – including his league debut away at Millwall in December last year.
And the youngster has spoken warmly of the work being done by Jon Beale and many others within the Academy system for providing a nucleus of young players able to make the step up to the first team and flourish.
"The Academy is a lot different now from back when I first joined at the age of nine or ten," he said.
"Being Category Three and playing at Ideal Standard is a lot different to life at Bishop Burton. We made the step up to Category Two when I was 14 or 15, so it was nice to get the chance to play against better opposition for a couple of years before stepping up to the Under-18s and Under-23s and I think that’s helped myself and a lot of other players coming through.
"Everyone at the Academy deserves so much credit for the progress that has been made in terms of our youth set-up. It just shows what a great place it is to learn your trade and that all the work that is going on down at Bishop Burton is worthwhile.
"The progress of Academy lads in the first-team in recent years shows whatever is being done is being done right. We’re bringing players through the ranks that are making an impact in the Championship which is a great league.
"It’s great that our younger players are now testing themselves against better opposition because it can only help them to improve in all areas of their games.
"It will only benefit them in the long run and hopefully we can keep bringing players through and keep seeing Academy products involved with the first-team.
"In the past couple of seasons, we’ve had a number players breaking through and playing for the first team – the likes of ‘Batts’, Jarrod (Bowen) and Max (Clark) – and then there’s been Robbie this season as well. You’ve also got Max (Sheaf) and Keane (Lewis-Potter) making good progress as well.
"It’s great for our young players at the Academy to see that happening because it shows that if you work hard enough and have the talent, you will get a chance.
"It shows all the hard work that goes on behind-the-scenes at the Academy is paying off and, as I say, huge credit must go to Jon Beale and all the staff there."
Reflecting on his own campaign over the past ten months, Fleming added: "It’s been a good season in terms of aiding my development. Training with the first-team day in, day out has been a big step up for me.
"It’s been challenging throughout the season but it’s a challenge that I’ve relished every day. It’s exactly what I needed in my opinion. Training with senior players and experienced professionals has been so beneficial and can only help me to become a better player. I’ve learnt so much from the lads every single day.
"Games-wise, the six appearances I’ve made this season is a decent number considering I only had one to my name in the previous campaign.
"I’m really happy where I am at the minute. It’s a great club – my hometown club – and I just want to kick on here. My only focus is continuing the progress that I’ve made this season when we return for pre-season ahead of 2019/20."