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Kayden Jackson hoping to shine for Paolo di Canio
Paolo di Canio has a keen eye on Kayden Jackson after the Albion Sports youngster earned himself an opportunity to be fast-tracked into the professional game.
Jackson entered the ‘Samsung win a pro contract’ competition, along with thousands of other hopefuls across the nation, and has been selected for the final three.
Tom Fehler – who works for Football CV, organisers on behalf of the sponsors – said: “There are three players left and basically there are two one-year contacts on offer, one with Leyton Orient and one at Swindon Town.
“All three of the players will be going to Leyton Orient for a week’s training with their first team next month and after that they will all have a week at Swindon Town.
“We (Football CV) ran the trial part and the process of narrowing down the 5,000-plus applicants to 360 for the first set of trials, then down to 88, 22 and then the final 11 who played in a full game against Orient’s youth team.
“The managers, Russell Slade and Paolo di Canio, were at the game and they pick the three who get invited to the one-week spell with the clubs. After that, the managers chose which player they want and he will get a one-year deal at whichever club.
“If the managers chose the same player from the final three then they will sit down and have an interesting conversation – but I imagine every conversation with Mr Di Canio is an interesting one!”
Albion manager Kulwinder Sandhu is delighted that one of his players has gone so far in the competition and hopes Jackson is not left as the odd one out. Fehler, who has seen the players from day one, feels that would be an injustice.
Fehler said: “Kayden has impressed a lot of people during the trials. He is a very good player and a nice lad. It is an excellent opportunity and two out of the three will become pro footballers.
“Samsung sponsor both Leyton Orient and Swindon Town, so that’s why they are the two clubs involved and this is the third year of the competition. The first winner did his one year as a pro but he now plays for Histon in the Conference North.
“I don’t know if the second year’s winner was kept on but he did play for the first team. The lad (Chris Smith) actually played against Bradford City. He came on from the bench just 20 minutes into the game when Swindon played City in the league last season.”