Gordon Hill, the former Machester United and Derby County star, was in attendance at the Proact for Chesterfield’s 1-0 win over Walsall last weekend and he spoke to Spireites Player before the game.
Now coaching in the USA, the former England international has an academy in Florida that looks to nurture young soccer players.
“I brought the youth team over from America,” said Hill. “They look at the environment and the culture of football in this world and it’s really great. I organise several games, put them out on display and let clubs have a look at them.
“They have a desire to play. We call them the ‘second chance players’ who get into the game and they can see what it actually takes to play in a top professional club. I was at Old Trafford showing them the background there and now I’m here and I show them all the levels of the game that they want to try to achieve. Then it’s up to them, but I help them develop.”
Hill was also impressed with the setup at Chesterfield and the Proact Stadium, speaking highly about how the club was run.
He said: “I think it’s first class. I know Chris Turner very well from our time with Manchester United and Chris explained to me and said that we should talk to Liam Sutcliffe, who runs the development program, and these kids will get a good chance. The hospitality has been fantastic and the kids have been able to watch the pros.
“Many clubs don’t have links like this with clubs in the States because the States is so big, it’s only a matter of time before the players start making their way over here so I bring them over so clubs like Chesterfield can have a look at them, take them into the development squad, take them into the youth squad and then push them into their reserves and first team.”
Hill also believes that a link between the US and the UK can be beneficial to both countries.
“We’ve seen players like Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard come through,” he said. “We’ve got a number of American owners in the UK and the American’s are really throwing their money behind this. They can put a very good event on but we can give them a very good player and an environment to do it.
“I’ve had a look around, had a look at the training ground, will be having a look at the stadium today and the comments I get from the players are ‘Wow, I didn’t think it was this serious’. I said to them that if they think that this is serious they should look at somewhere like the Premiership.”