Football: Stars from Gloucestershire-based Academies

Following on from Forest Green Rovers’ 3-0 victory against local rivals Cheltenham Town, there’s been clear improvement in youth football in the local area, with Rovers’ Head of Academy Scott Bartlett claiming Gloucestershire’s has “a good catchment area.”

His side were also recently recognised as one of the leading academies in the area after achieving Category 3 for the first time.

Below are three impressive players who’ve learned their trades from the likes of Cheltenham Town or Forest Green Rovers:

1. Jordan Stevens (Leeds United)

A central midfield player traditionally, the 18 year-old is capable of playing in a variety of positions including right-wing, offering a lot of attacking threats from both positions.

Starting out in Rovers’ academy, Stevens went on to make 15 appearances for the Green Devils in all competitions before signing for Championship giants Leeds United back in 2018.

Stevens joined United on an initial two and a half year deal and has not looked back, granting the Gloucester-born midfielder his Leeds debut in the 76th minute for Mateusz Klich in Leeds’ 2-1 defeat to Stoke City.

2. George Lloyd (Cheltenham Town – on loan at Hereford FC)

A well-known goal-scorer at youth level, the 20 year-old progressed through the Robins’ academy with an impressive record of over 40 goals before signing his first pro deal in 2017.

Lloyd made nine first-team appearances last season scoring twice against Cambridge and Crewe Alexandra before being nominated for the League Football Education Apprentice of the Year in League Two.

The youngster is now on loan at National League North Hereford FC where he has also scored two goals in nine games as he looks to be in Cheltenham’s first team next season.

3. Jordan Simpson (Forest Green Rovers – on loan at Havant & Waterlooville)

Another wide player to emerge from Forest Green’s youth team, Simpson is another who looks to make his mark in the first-team after making his first and only appearance in the 2-0 defeat to Luton Town back in 2017.

Loans at Hungerford Town and currently Havant & Waterlooville followed and although he’s yet to score for either, he has impressed with his directness and ability on the ball as he looks to return to Forest Green a better and stronger player.  

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