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"You could always tell he was going to be an early developer." - Richard Stevens

12 May 2014

Sky Blues Academy manager Richard Stevens heaps praise on Lee Burge after the goalkeeper signs long-term deal with the club

Coventry City Academy Manager Richard Stevens has spoken of his pride at seeing young goalkeeper Lee Burge land his first long-term contract with the Sky Blues.

The 21-year-old penned a three-year deal with the club on Friday and Stevens, who had worked with Burge in the club's Academy since he was 14 years old, said the reward was 'fully deserved'.

"Lee was an Under 14 goalkeeper when I joined the club so he'd already been with the Academy for a couple of years but it's fair to say that he always had a presence," Stevens said.

Click here to watch Lee Burge's exclusive interview after signing his new deal!

"He was a tall boy, even then, and he was a great character. He consistently played above his age group through the Academy and it always looked as though he was going to be an early developer, both in terms of his physical presence and his mentality.

"His goalkeeping was always very good, he was alway comfortable in throwing himself around the goal and while he did take conceding goals particularly hard at times it was only natural because everybody goes through. You have to."

Burge has been a constant starter for the club's Under 21s throughout the 2013/14 season while playing understudy for starting first team 'keeper Joe Murphy and Stevens added that he has shown his ability to be patient at a time that can be difficult for Academy graduates, especially a goal keeper..

"There's no doubt he's had to be patient because players come out of the Under 18s group and then have to adjust with the difficult situation of not playing games regularly.

"His time at Nuneaton though will have done him an unbelievable amount of good because that period and type of work experience, where you are going up against men in games where results and performances matter, will have been invaluable for his development.

"Having helped preside over Lee's development as a youngster, as well as a number of youngsters who have gone on to represent the club at the highest level, it's always extremely satisfying to see their professional journey unfold and in Lee's case this latest step for him is thoroughly deserved."

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