It has been an exceptional year for Fleetwood Town’s Paddy Lane since his arrival at Highbury.
Having only joined the club’s Academy in the last 12 months, he has progressed into the first team and represented Northern Ireland at U21 level.
The 20-year-old has had a swift rise into Town’s senior set-up, having been in non-league prior to his arrival at Highbury.
He explained: “I was in non-league with Hyde United.
“The season got curtailed because of Covid – the clubs at that level just could not afford to keep going through those times.
“I ended up going on loan to Farsley Celtic. That’s where I got picked up because I was playing there week in and week out in National League North.
“I ended up coming in on trial in January or February and I’ve been at Fleetwood ever since.
“At the time I was studying for a degree in sports and performance analysis.
“I had to manage that whilst on trial, which was fun but it was tough at the same time.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way. I like the path I have taken and it has got me to where I am today.”
The approach from Fleetwood took the winger a little by surprise but it was one he grasped with both hands.
Having seen other youngsters break into the first team, Lane wants to be the next poster boy of the club’s academy.
He said: “When Fleetwood came in, I didn’t know they had been looking at Farsley.
“As soon as I came into the building, I thought I needed to show them what I can do.
“After a few good sessions, I could feel myself getting better every day.
“I didn’t think it was now or never but you do appreciate every opportunity you get because they don’t come around often.
“I wanted to keep working on what I was doing in non-league at a higher level. That was always my aim.
“The club is brilliant for pathways. You can see the likes of James Hill, Shayden Morris, Jay Matete, Billy Crellin, Ged Garner – there are loads.
“The pathway is always there for the boys and that’s why the Academy is such a good set-up.
“There is work being done to improve it too. The pathway is there and the Academy is absolutely superb for bringing players through.
“I was right at the back end of that. It gives me motivation to stay in the team and to keep performing.”
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