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Friday, 03 July 2015

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Barrow teen signs new deal with Premier League Sunderland

AT the moment, he cleans England international Adam Johnson’s boots – but Tom Beadling one day aims to play alongside him in the Premier League.

DEAL DONE: Sunderland youth player Tom Beadling signing his new contract with the Black Cats’ first-team boss Martin O’Neill PICTURE SUBMITTED BY TRACY BEADLING

The 16-year-old, born and raised in Barrow before moving to Australia with his mother Tracy when he was 11, has recently signed a two-year scholarship deal at the Stadium of Light.

Described as an ‘old school’ defender, by his club, Beadling has spent two years playing in the junior sides with the Black Cats and was rewarded with the new contract – signed with first-team boss Martin O’Neill – this summer.

Now playing for the under-18s, the former Australian schoolboy international captain, who skippered his country at the Asian Federation Cup Under-13s Boys Festival of Football in Malaysia in 2009, has high ambitions for his future.

Beadling now lives in club accommodation and is fully integrated into the Sunderland set-up, where he is working his way back from a serious back injury which caused him to miss a large chunk of last season.

He hopes to continue his development and push his way into England’s top flight and said: “Firstly, I hope to get back to full fitness and playing as many matches as I can by working hard during the week and trying to be the best player I can be.

“Then, hopefully, I can work towards gaining another contract.

“I’m aiming to be a professional at the highest level possible.”

The training regime at Sunderland is rigorous, with Beadling and his team-mates training for two hours a day three days a week and four hours a day twice a week.

There are also academy matches every Saturday against other top youth set-ups from across the country, all mixed in with educational work to make for a packed schedule.

For a long-time Sunderland supporter, the effort is worth it, even if his injury has prevented him enjoying it to the full recently.

Beadling said: “It’s been great so far.

“Being injured and not playing or training is obviously frustrating, but it’s great going into the academy every day and being around people I can learn from.

“I have been injured for a long period of time and I have had to be very patient.

“It has been very frustrating watching the other lads train and play, but I am on track to be back playing very soon.
“The facilities are second-to-none at Sunderland and we are provided with everything we need on and off the pitch.
“It’s a professional environment that’s good to be involved in.

“The setup is very different to Australia, as there are no academies there and football is not the main sport.

“The main difference is that the intensity and speed of the game is quicker in England, but I did enjoy my time in Australia and gained a lot of experience being there.”

Within that professional environment, each of the academy players is expected to undertake duties for their first-team counterparts.

For Beadling, this means keeping the boots of former Manchester City man Johnson spick and span – a ritual all aspiring professionals must go through – as well as helping out on match days in and around the dressing room.
The youngster added: “We rarely train with any of the first team, but we do come into contact with them regularly around the academy.

“Each scholar cleans a member of the first team’s boots every day. I clean Adam Johnson’s boots and as part of my scholar duties have to help out in the first team dressing room on home games so come into contact with them that way.”

Beadling will continue to work hard at Sunderland as he aims to regain full fitness and advance his career.

If all goes to plan, in a few years time it will be an academy player cleaning his boots as he steps out to play in a Premier League match.

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