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Fixture News

Smith Sees Darikwa as Academy Role Model

4 August 2015

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Academy manager Mark Smith feels that the recent departure of Tendayi Darikwa to Burnley underlines the work in the Chesterfield academy and will help spur on the current recruits.

After joining the Chesterfield youth set-up as a teenager, Darikwa gradually graduated to the first team, where he clocked-up 125 appearances and was a pivitol figure in promotion and play-off teams before transferring to Championship side Burnley last week.

Along with all Spirietes supporters, Smith was saddened to see Darikwa leave the Proact fold, but feels his efforts can have a positive effect on the young players in the academy aiming to go on similar footballing journeys.

"It certainly shows what we're about as an academy," said Smith. "It's obviously tough to get a player like that through every year, though that is the idea, but I think that all the work he did here, from the youth set-up and then with a couple of loan moves ultimately helped mould him into the player he's now become.

"I wasn't here when Tendayi first joined but I'd say we've got some players here in the academy who, when you compare them to Tendayi, are in the same mould as Tendayi was.

"Now it's the case that you can hold Tendayi up as a role model. We say to the players that they have got that chance but it's up to them and their ability as to how far they take it."

As well as helping the current crop of young players, Smith also feels that Darikwa's progress will assist with attracting other high-quality youngsters to the Spireites academy.

"Having produced a player like Tendayi helps to underpin what we say to parents and players when they are thinking of joining our academy. We can show them an example of where they want to go with getting professional contracts and playing in the first team.

"You can say that this could be your son or this could be you as an individual in the future. Obviously, there's a lot of hard work to be put in before that but it shows you what can be achieved by players here."

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