Jordan Clark has spoken of his heartbreak after being released by hometown club Barnsley but believes he can emulate the likes of Rickie Lambert and Jamie Vardy in going from the bottom of the English football pyramid to the top.
The attacking midfielder from Hoyland was rated as the best player in an exciting Reds under 18s side of three years ago which also included John Stones, now an England international, as well as Danny Rose and Reuben Noble-Lazarus who are in the first team set-up at Oakwell. But the 20-year-old was let go last month after 13 years at Barnsley, having made seven first team appearances.
"This isn't the last Barnsley fans will see or hear of me," Clark, who lives in Wombwell, told the Chronicle.
"I have got to take inspiration from players like Rickie Lambert who got rejected early in his career then worked his way up through the lower leagues into the England squad. There's Jamie Vardy as well who played for Stocksbridge Park Steels and now he's with Leicester in the Premier League.
"I believe I am good enough to do what they have done. People might think I am wrong but I believe in myself. I have spoken to a few clubs who are interested in signing me. I would like to go back into the Football League if possible but I'm not afraid of dropping into non-league football if I have to."
In 2010, Premier League giants Manchester City attempted to sign Clark but the Reds held out for a big fee – something they would not be able to do now under the tariff system of the Elite Player Performance Plan – and the deal collapsed.
Clark said: "I used to think about that all the time but I have got over it now. We will never know what would have happened if I had gone to Man City but it was out of my hands. "There's no point thinking 'what if?'"
Full story in this week's Chronicle