Knights midfield maestro earns Barnsley academy contract

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A FOOTBALL-MAD schoolboy from South Kirkby is all-set for a season to remember after signing academy terms with Barnsley.

Midfield maestro Kieren Flavell has impressed Tykes coaches at the club’s development centre and has been rewarded with a 12-month deal in their well-respected academy.

The eight-year-old, a Barnsley season-ticket holder, has enjoyed a rapid progression in the beautiful game.

He caught the attention of the Barnsley scouts playing for South Kirkby Knights in a summer tournament and spent last year at the Reds’ development centre.

He’s now taken his next step on the ladder to achieving his dream of playing professional football and his dad says he can’t wait to start.

“I don’t think Kieren realises how far he’s come in the last few years,” he said.

“He’s such a level-headed lad but now he’s got this opportunity to progress in Barnsley’s academy and he’s so excited and can’t wait to start.

“He’s obviously done well enough in the development centre over the last year and he starts in the academy in September.”

Flavell, who idolises players such as Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard, captained the all-conquering South Kirkby Knights side that won their Charles Rice League thanks to a 3-1 victory over Rothwell at the weekend.

He’ll have to stop playing for the Knights next season when he starts playing academy matches for the Reds but owes much of his success to the Knights coaches.

“He just started playing in the back garden and we signed him up to play for the Knights when Glen Bugge was manager,” said William.

“Dave Boyle’s his manager now and he made him captain so we owe a lot of thanks to those two to helping him to where he is now.”

Flavell has caught the attention of a number of clubs, including Manchester United who took him to one of their satellite centres in Stocksbridge for six months.

Manchester City, Leeds United, Huddersfield Town and Sheffield Wednesday were also keen on his talents but the youngster only had eyes for Oakwell.

“He’s always been a Barnsley fan and he goes to watch them every week,” his dad added.

“He’s been on the pitch when the first team has run out for a Championship match this season so it’s given him a taste of what could be.”

The hot prospect will continue playing for the Knights in summer tournaments before taking up his role with the young Tykes in September.

See this week’s Hemsworth and South Elmsall Express for all the latest sports news from around the area.