Carlisle United have today offered one-year contracts to second-year scholars Max Brown [striker], Kieron Olsen [defender/midfielder] and Sam Adewusi [midfielder].
Brown, 19, was part of last year’s crop of second years but had a decision on his future deferred pending his recovery from a cruciate ligament injury picked up in March 2017. His return to action brought him a loan move to local side Workington, where he scored on his debut.
Adewusi and Olsen have been two of the consistent performers for the under-18 side and have worked hard to earn their contract offers.
Academy manager Darren Edmondson said: “The emotions of the day are hard to describe. I think, as the season develops, there is one or two who perhaps know they haven’t quite reached the required standards, and there are others who probably feel they’ve been the better players in the group and they should be getting something.
“It has been a difficult morning but the high from it is the three lads who go away knowing they’re going to get contract offers.”
Speaking about Kieron Olsen, he told us: “Overall he’s been one of our more consistent players. He’s become a bit of a jack of all trades, which we need to address in the summer. I think centre midfield is probably his best position.
“In the bigger games over the last two years, for example the cup games, he’s been the one who has emotionally dealt with the situation in the best way. He has to control his emotions with regards to his tackling, and things like that, but dealing with the football and the nervousness of games, he’s handled that brilliantly.
“He can use the football with both feet and his passing range is really good. He can deal with the ball like a professional already and if he’d had a bit more training time he would possibly have got closer to the first team squad. A potentially smaller squad should help him with that this season. If he gets a good pre-season under his belt they should be able to see his attributes.”
On Sam Adewusi, he commented: “He’s a different type of footballer. He has some work to do emotionally in my opinion but, as a physical specimen and as a midfield engine room, he’s above his age at the moment.
“He’ll get better with more professional football under him. He has good awareness about dealing with a football and handling himself in tight situations, but the rest of it comes from training with professionals. When you’re doing that day in and day out it improves you.
“He knows he has some work to do technically in one or two areas, but he will be way up there with the best athletes in the squad, because he’s a top athlete himself.”
And on Max Brown, he said: “It’s been difficult emotionally for him this past year or so because he was almost at the end of a two-year scholarship when he had the cruciate ligament injury and he had to delay it all.
“He was potentially going to get a deal last year, with the goals he’d scored and his overall approach to the game, so he’s done really well. He’s worked hard to get back and he’s played over 20 games since his return, with a loan spell at Workington amongst that.
“That will have done him the world of good and he knows his knee is strong and ready and he’s another who should have a good pre-season. He’s quick and agile, and he knows where the goal is, and if you have attributes like that you’re always going to get a chance at this level.”
With the remaining eight players released, he said: “It isn’t easy to say goodbye at all, and I don’t think it ever will be. The parents come along and they leave the building feeling quite sad, but we tell all of the lads to take the knock and use it as a motivation for whatever it is they want to achieve.
“One door closes, but another will open, and if you have the ability and belief it will help you to get there. It’s only those lads who can alter the situation they find themselves in for the good of themselves, and we always hope they will come back to prove this decision wrong.
“It could be that one or two need to drop down a level and start from scratch. Cream will always rise and there’s a couple I think we might well hear from again. We’ve offered to help in any way we can, and they all have exit trials this week, so we hope that something happens from there.
“We wish them all the very best as they move on from the club.”
The very best wishes of everybody at the club goes to Lee Ashton, Max Cowburn, Alex Goldthorpe, Aidan Hutchinson, Luke Lloyd, Jaic Miller, Luke Taylor and Dean Watson.