I spoke to a very please young Mark Shelton after he and two of his fellow academy graduates signed their contracts at the Pirelli Stadium on Monday.Mark Shelton was allocated a squad number at the start of the season by Gary Rowett whilst featuring regularly for the youth team under Mike Whitlow.
This time around, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has rewarded Mark’s hard work and determination with his first professional contract. Shelton expressed his delight and admits it is nice to finally get the reward.
“I am very pleased.
“I have been at the club a while now so it is nice to get the reward that I have worked so hard for.”
Whilst only featuring on the bench for Hasselbaink’s side once this season, Shelton has been ever-present for the youth team and the reserves who have faced sides such as Doncaster and Hartlepool.
“When I am with the first team, the gaffer helps a lot.
“I have done the most I can to give myself the best opportunity.
“From training with Mike Whitlow everyday then going up and training with Jimmy is a different experience.”
Hasselbaink’s appointment in November had everybody on the edge of their seats. It was intriguing to see what effect the Dutchman would have on the squad and whether he was going to stick with his youngsters like Rowett did after he gave Slade, Harness and Doyle opportunities.
“It is amazing.
“When he first got given the job I was excited to come and see if I could impress.
“It has been hard but I feel like it has helped me progress under a big name.”
With the League 2 season over, there are just six weeks before the first team return to training, a week earlier than originally scheduled. The younger players involved with the youth team only broke up for the off-season on Tuesday so for them, they have had a week less to rest.
For Mark Shelton, there will be no rest. He told burtonalbionfc.co.uk that he intends to keep fit during the off-season before trying to impress Hasselbaink when pre-season returns.
“I have got some time off then it is back in for pre-season and try to do the best I can.
“I will keep fit, try to move forward and break into the first team.”