Rochdale are currently competing in League One which is unfamiliar surroundings to a lot of the fanbase who were used to the team being in the bottom half of League 2. Even managing 36 consecutive seasons in that league between 1974 and 2010.
A lot of their recent success is down to the successful talent they have been producing through their academy which have either successfully developed into regular first team players or have been sold on for a large profit. Such names include; Jamie Allen, Scott Hogan, Will Buckley, Stephen Bywater and Paddy McCourt who all went on to have or are having very successful careers and players more familiar to only Rochdale fans such as; Andy Cannon, Callum Camps and Aaron Morley who currently still play for the first team.
Two of their current crop that stands out to me as fitting into the aforementioned categories are 17 years old Daniel Adshead and 16-year-old Luke Matheson.
Adshead began training with the first team at 14 years old which hinted at his potential, making his debut for the Under 18s at just 15. He attended the clubs pre-season tour to Tenerife with the first team in 2017, making his first team debut and at the time becoming Rochdale’s youngest ever player in September of that year aged 16 years and 17 days old providing an assist in that game.
He was on the fringes of the squad for the rest of that season but did manage 14 minutes against Tottenham in an FA Cup 5th round replay at Wembley later that season.
He’s gone from strength to strength from there making his England U18s debut earlier this season, in which he scored and since securing a first-team place for Rochdale. Big things are expected, I think it won’t be too long till bigger clubs come knocking.
The second player I believe is looking like having a promising career is Luke Matheson. He made his first-team debut earlier this season in a match in the Checkatrade trophy against Bury coming off the bench to smashing the previous record set by Adshead as Rochdale’s youngest ever debutant. He was just 15 years old and 336 days old. He won the man of the match that game despite coming off the bench in the 13th minute. Putting in a calm and very confident performance year beyond his age.
So far at the time of writing, he has only made 3 appearances this season with all of those coming in the Checkatrade trophy. A tournament Keith Hill, Rochdale’s manager seems to use to great success to blend future talent into the spotlight of the first team.
The future looks promising for Rochdale with their academy, which back in 2017 was ranked first out of all Category Three academies, second in the whole of the Football League and third including Premier League clubs.
I expect these 2 lads to be some of the next success stories.