Top of the class. Back, from left: Ali White (head of sixth form), Sarah Hartshorn (principal), Alex Cross (head of football academy). Front: Nico Costa, Albie Howe, Mitchell Rasberry, Ethan Wilson and Tyler Knowles.Picture: SUBMITTED.

FOOTBALL: Youth will play an integral part of the future for King’s Lynn Town.

New manager Tommy Widdrington is keen to bring on the club’s youngsters and gave academy graduate Tyler Knowles his first-team debut during Saturday’s FA Trophy win against Nantwich.

Knowles is one of five Linnets Football Academy Scheme youngsters to sign first-team forms, alongside Mitchell Rasberry, Albie Howe, Ethan Wilson and Nico Costa.

Already on his way to the next stage of his career is prolific scorer Joe Taylor, who signed for Championship side Peterborough United last month.

Taylor, like his five former teammates is continuing to study at King Edward VII Academy. The new National League recruits are training daily with the first team and also receiving coaching from academy coaches Alex Cross and Alex Cook. 

Cross said: “We are pleased to be in a position where five players have receive squad numbers. That is testament to the players, their families and everyone connected with KES. 

“Bradley Ironside is also regularly training with the first team and we have an unrivalled and clear pathway to professional football. 

“These young men are gaining opportunities through their desire and determination to continue developing.”

Head of sixth form Ali White said that one of the key goals of the partnership with the Linnets was to offer students new opportunities and the chance to fulfil their potential as footballers. 

“It is therefore great to see more of our students taking the next step in their football careers,” he said. 

“The boys have worked extremely hard and their success shows the clear pathway that exists between the u19 academy, based at KES, and the Lynn first team. Just as important for me, as head of sixth form, is the education and enrichment opportunities we provide students. 

“All of these boys have been involved with supporting the coaching and officiating of lower school football and primary school sports festivals. 

“This has helped develop their leadership, teamwork and communication skills.

“Our students do not have to study sport and physical activity. Tyler is studying criminology, while Ethan and Nico study psychology. Others on the programme are studying business, English, history and philosophy and ethics.”