Leamington boss Paul Holleran has paid tribute to former Brakes striker Danny Newton who this week achieved his dream of full-time football with League Two side Stevenage.
Newton spent a season-and-a-half at Leamington before making the switch to Tamworth and Holleran, who remains in touch with the 26-year-old, said the striker’s rise is a lesson to all aspiring non-league players.
“His work ethic is the key, thing,” said Holleran. “He had controlled aggression, a desire to win and would tackle a brick wall for you.
“Any player who is mentally right can get to that level when you add in a sprinkling of quality which is what Danny’s got.”
Newton signed for Brakes after a disappointing spells with Nuneaton and Brackley but despite scoring 18 goals for the club in his only full season he was unable to prevent relegation from the Conference North.
He opted to remain in the division, signing for the Lambs and was courted by several Football League clubs, including Coventry City and Grimsby Town, after scoring 29 goals last season.
However, it was Stevenage who won the race for Tamworth’s manager’s, players’ and fans’ player of the year and Holleran is delighted to have played a part in Newton’s renaissance.
“He had a few knocks along the way but at Leamington he finally found his feet.
“We gave him the platform, stuck with him and once he got going he got better and better.
“I’m delighted that somewhere along the chain we were able to help him.
“It couldn’t have happened to a nicer kid. He’s really come through the hard way.”
And Holleran believes Newton’s move and the success of non-league graduates like Jamie Vardy, Sam Clucas and more recently, Omar Bogle, should encourage more Football League teams to look outside the top four divisions for talent.
“The sooner pro clubs realise that academies are not working and come to have a look at non-league players the better.”