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"It has been a good season, our young players have had opportunities once again." Coventry City's Rich Stevens

8 May 2015

The Academy manager was pleased that James Maddison capped off a good season for the Academy and is excited for what next season holds...

Coventry City Academy manager Richard Stevens was delighted that "one of our own" James Maddison was able to cap off another successful season for the Academy on the final day of the season.

Maddison, who has been with the Sky Blues since the age of six, came off the bench to score the winner against Crawley and ensure City's survival in League One.

Stevens believes that was a great way for the Academy to round off another impressive season and believes that Maddison is capable of a lot more to come.

"It has been a good season and it's been a long season obviously with our League One status being uncertain," Stevens said.

"But our young players have had opportunities once again to be in and around the first-team. Towards the back end of the season, we've seen George Thomas and James Maddison come into the fold and it was fitting that Maddison got the winner. 

"All of us at the Academy had a great sense of pride on Sunday afternoon, it was a great relief but to see one of our own step up and change the game was great to see.

"Everyone here at the Academy from the physios to the sports scientists to the parents shared in our relief of Sunday!

"When I came into the club, James was at Under-11 level and even then you could see you had something different in a very good group. James always had something different, people always recognised him wherever we went and he has grown and grown through schoolboy years and scholarship.

"It's no suprise when we see him do what he's doing,  he's capable of a lot more to come."

It's not just Thomas and Maddison who caught the eye for the Academy this campaign, with seven of the group - including Maddison and Thomas - earning professional offers.

Cian Harries, Devon Kelly-Evans, Dion Kelly-Evans, Kyle Spence and Ben Stevenson have all impressed and Stevens believes that offering seven deals shows what a strong position the Academy are in. 

He continued: "It's a big turnover for a group, offering seven deals. The targets always want eight to ten U16s into scholarship and at the end of it get two to four out of it, so we've done well. But we've got seven and that is a great position to be in and they have all earned it.

"James and George put their head above water earlier than the others, but the Kelly-Evans twins will always give you 100% and are good footballers, Ben Stevenson is an exciting player to watch, Kyle Spence and Cian Harries are attracting interest from the manager for the first-team so it shows the good work everyone is putting in.

"The big turnover is justified and every player has worked hard for eight years or so to get to this stage."

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