Caldwell sees ‘massive’ future for teenager and says academy is crucial for Spireites

Joe Rowley was included in the matchday squad for the visit of Shrewsbury (Pic: Tina Jenner)
Joe Rowley was included in the matchday squad for the visit of Shrewsbury (Pic: Tina Jenner)
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Gary Caldwell is predicting a ‘massive’ future for one of Chesterfield’s academy products.

Joe Rowley was included in the first team squad on Saturday and although he didn’t make his debut, the 17-year-old appears well positioned to become a fully fledged Spireite sooner rather than later.

Joe Rowley in action for Chesterfield reserves (Pic: Tina Jenner)

Joe Rowley in action for Chesterfield reserves (Pic: Tina Jenner)

Caldwell revealed how Rowley, who signed for the club at Under 15 level, came to his attention and how highly he rates the midfielder.

“I watched the reserve game against Grimsby and he’s been training with us since then,” he said.

“He’s been fantastic. He’s someone I think has a massive future and we have to try and develop that and push him on.

“I feel like he’s got the quality to affect the first team now, even at his young age.

“We just have to manage him along and give him opportunities when we can.”

Rowley’s progression, following in the footsteps of fellow youth system products Curtis Morrison and Ricky German, highlights the importance of the club’s own academy in Caldwell’s eyes.

“I think it’s massive,” he said. “We have to try and develop our own players.

“It’s difficult in the current climate of different categories and how it’s geared towards the bigger clubs getting success.

“But seeing Joe and the talent he has, it shows it can be done – we can get players through and help provide the first team with quality players.

“So we have to keep working at that as a club and keep trying to develop those players.