Ipswich Town come calling for AFC’s Academy striker

RISING STAR: Luke Gannaway has taken his foot steps to becoming a professional footballer by signing a deal with Ipswich Town's academy
RISING STAR: Luke Gannaway has taken his foot steps to becoming a professional footballer by signing a deal with Ipswich Town's academy

A plethora of youngsters across the globe dream of becoming a professional footballer.

For the masses it remains just that — an unfulfilled dream — but Luke Gannaway is someone that has earned himself the chance to make that ambition become reality.

After scoring in excess of 70 goals for Bury Town Colts at Under-12 level last season, the 13-year-old soon found himself on the radar of Ipswich Town’s scouting network.

The EFL Championship side were suitably impressed and duly offered the striker an opportunity to link up with AFC Sudbury’s Shadow Academy, which is run as part of Ipswich’s elite system.

More goals followed and when Ipswich handed the youngster an extended trial, he grabbed the chance with both hands.

Having impressed in outings against Norwich City and Chelsea, Gannaway went on to score a 20-minute hat-trick against Dartford Under-14s.

Ipswich had seen enough by that point, handing the hotshot a two-year academy contract.

The hard work, of course, starts now, but dad Robert believes his son has the type of mentality that will hold him in good stead on his journey.

“We have our own mantra — hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard. Luke believes in that,” said Robert.

“He is very quick — the quickest in the academy and he is a good finisher as well.

“He is good with both feet and once the chance opens up, he rarely misses the target.

“Off the pitch he is a quiet lad and that has helped him take everything in his stride.

“It is all down to him now. Luke knows he needs to work hard and if he does that, everything is in front of him.

“He will be coached by the likes of Kieron Dyer, Jason Dozzell and Mick Stockwell — with coaches like that you are bound to become a better player.”

Now part of Ipswich’s youth system, Gannaway is no longer permitted to play for Sudbury in the Eastern Junior Alliance League.

He will, however, continue to have a connection with the club, having thoroughly enjoyed his brief stint at the King’s Marsh Stadium.

“We will still go to watch Sudbury when we can because we made a lot of friends there,” added Robert.

“They have a very good team at that age group and it would not be surprising if Ipswich started to look at a few more of the players that are there.”

This weekend Gannaway is set to be in East Anglian derby action against Norwich City.

It will be a particularly special fixture for mum Amy, who as a supporter of the Tractor Boys, will be extra keen to see her son net a goal against their rivals.