December 6 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Teenage sensation Jack Friend has been given the dream chance to land a contract with Peterborough United.
The 16-year-old, who plays non-league football for Wisbech Town, yesterday started a two-week trial with the League One club in the hope of securing a two-year scholarship at London Road.
He burst onto the scene last season when he became the youngest player to score for the Fenmen, aged 16, on his debut during a 4-1 win against Thetford Town. And he has continued to attract the attention of a handful of professional clubs with some fine displays for the United Counties League (UCL) Premier Division outfit and their under-18 team since.
Joint first-team boss Paul Cousins said of the pint-sized frontman, who will play for Posh’s under-18 team at Southend today: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for Jack and he’s got every chance of getting a two-year scholarship.
“He’s an unbelievable talent. He plays a lot of football, for us, our youth team and the college (of West Anglia), so we try to be careful with him. But he always does well when he’s come in with us and he’s very strong for a young lad. I’m buzzing for him.
“I spoke to Dave Robertson (Posh Academy manager) and said ‘just do what you’ve got to do’. I’m not going to stand in the boy’s way. I think he was a bit shocked at first, and kept saying he couldn’t thank us (Cousins and joint-boss Scott Johnson) enough for playing him. I really hope he does well.”
Friend has scored 10 goals in five appearances for Wisbech’s youth team this term and netted a brace against Swaffham Town on Tuesday in front of Posh chief Robertson.
That two-goal display came off the back of him notching his first goal for the senior side this season against Newport Pagnell Town on Saturday. The youngster’s exquisite finish has been described by some as the best goal scored at the club’s Elgood’s Fenland Stadium.
Cousins said: “Jack stands out among the others when he plays for the under-18s. No disrespect to anyone else but you can see he’s played men’s football. He’s so talented.
“On Saturday, Callum Reed played a 40-yard ball and as it came over his shoulder I thought, ‘he’s shooting, what are you doing?’. And then he just went and did that. It was an incredible goal.
“He’s only little but he’s a very, very good striker. He’s always on the shoulder of the last defender, which impressed the scouts who have been keeping tabs on him. He’s always looking to cause trouble. He’s a good finisher too.”
A host of Friend’s team-mates have taken to social networking website Twitter to wish him good luck ahead of his trial while the left-footed player sent a message wishing the club luck in their UCL Knockout Cup tie at home to Northampton ON Chenecks this afternoon.
- To see Friend’s goal against Newport, fast-forward to three minutes and 41 seconds.
- Video supplied by Wisbech Town Football Club.