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Paddy Lane one of Fleetwood’s young stars is trying to compete with former Army striker Cod and Premier League champion Jamie Vardy

When you think of Fleetwood Town, you can’t help but think of Jamie Vardy.

That’s the famous Lancashire clubker on his way to Premier League and England stardom when they sold him to Leicester after his goal sent them into the Football League.

Jamie Vardy was set on the road to stardom by Fleetwood

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Jamie Vardy was set on the road to stardom by Fleetwood
Vardy completed a fairy tale climbing from non-league to Premier League title in 2016

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Vardy completed a fairy tale climbing from non-league to Premier League title in 2016

But the League One team is developing a new generation of talent that they hope can follow in his illustrious footsteps and put a little more money into the coffers.

When the homegrown defender James Hill has completed a £1m move to Bournemouth this month, he became the latest player the Cod Army has nurtured and moved on to bigger things.

And there’s no sign that their talent carousel will end – with a SEVEN internationals are now in their ranks.

It was not until Saturday that Northern Ireland right-back Conor McLaughlin decided to leave the club after his contract expired.

One of the internationals is playmaker midfielder Paddy Lane, whom Fleetwood signed last summer from non-league club Hyde United.

The 20-year-old was one of the finds of the season and topped the league’s assists table with eight goals and made it into the Northern Ireland Under-21 side.

And as Vardy did after Sheffield Wednesday turned him down at the age of 16, Lane opted for the non-league route after Blackburn released himself in his teens.

“Maybe Blackburn thought I was too small or not good enough,” Lane said.

“But I joined Hyde, who was working on Rochdale’s Elite Development Squad plan.

“And in my second year, I was put in Hyde’s first team and ended up playing 50 to 60 games for them.

Paddy Lane played non-league last season but is now the king of assists at Fleetwood

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Paddy Lane played non-league last season but is now the king of assists at Fleetwood

“Then, fortunately in the summer, Fleetwood attacked me.”

Vardy played for Stocksbirdge Park Steels and Halifax before Fleetwood caught him – while Lane played for Hyde and had two loan spells with Farsley Celtic.

And Army ace Cod said: “I’ve had a lot of time for the road outside of the league.

“When I was growing up, Vardy was one of my idols and he followed that path as did players like West Ham’s Michail Antonio and Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings.

“There are a lot of good young players out there right now that are that way because it helps you get fit for men’s football.

“I needed to be kicked a few times to get myself on the right track.

England Under-20 Player of the Year James Hill moved £1m from Cod's side to Bournemouth this month

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England Under-20 Player of the Year James Hill moved £1m from Cod’s side to Bournemouth this month
Paddy Lane represents Northern Ireland Under-21s and is one of seven internationals at Fleetwood

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Paddy Lane represents Northern Ireland Under-21s and is one of seven internationals at Fleetwood

“Hyde gave me a great platform and I performed, scored and provided assists, that helped me move here.

“I couldn’t recommend it more highly as it equips you more for professional football

“Obviously I have to get stronger to be physically competitive so I have to work hard in the gym.

“And it has helped me with my speed work because being able to stay away from men is a lot different than competing against 17 or 18 year olds.

“You also have to be ready to fight for the ball because you’re going to get hit – that’s just the nature of the game.”

Lane had an incredible first half for his first season in professional football

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Lane had an incredible first half for his first season in professional football

Lane’s arrival in Fleetwood was spread by word of mouth after Stoke, Barnsley, Harrogate and Stockport showed interest but ultimately failed to attract him.

So his boss while at Farsley Celtic, Adam Lakeland, introduced him to a friend and Fleetwood academy director, Jack Higgins.

Lane said: “Fleetwood came in for me around February last year. I came to try it out and absolutely love this place.

“Everybody has been great to me – the players, the coach and it was arranged in May where I found out I would be offered something here.

“It was a very high day for me. I worked hard for a long time to get that opportunity and a professional contract.

“When I signed that contract, what else did I think I could achieve?

Fleetwood’s Seven Internationals

BILLY CRELLIN: England U17, U18, U20 (9 caps)

CARL JOHNSON: Northern Ireland U17, U19, U21 (19 caps)

BARRY BAGGLEY: Northern Ireland U17, U19, U21 (16 caps, 1 goal)

DYLAN BOYLE: Northern Ireland U17, U21 (8 caps)

CHRIS CONN-CLARKE: Northern Ireland U21 (6 caps, 1 goal)

PADDY LANE: Northern Ireland – U21 (6 caps, 1 goal)

CIAN HAS: Republic of Ireland – U19 (2 caps)

“What drew me to Fleetwood was the non-tournament aspect and the fact that Fleetwood was part of Vardy’s story by developing him.

“I thought, ‘Why can’t I do that?’ It’s been inspiring to see what he’s done and that’s a big pull point.

“And there are a lot of talented players here that the club is nurturing. There is a clear path. ”

Lane says the biggest thing he’s learned in his first half-season as a professional is composure.

He added: “When you play non-league it can get erratic. You need the composure to pick the right passes at the right time and realize that you have more time on the ball than you think.”

Vardy shot Fleetwood into the EFL and his incredible story showed Lane a clear path to the top

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Vardy shot Fleetwood into the EFL and his incredible story showed Lane a clear path to the top

Lane, however, keeps his feet on the ground and has made a backup plan if his career doesn’t go according to plan – or is cut off due to injury.

He said: “I have had a degree in sports performance analysis from the University of Derby for two years so I have completed the foundation part.

“I took a break last year to focus on professional football because right now I just want to work hard and repay Fleetwood for all the faith they’ve placed in me.”

HOW’S SCORE?

THINK whoever ran the scoreboard at Kenilworth Road displayed a sense of humour as the scoreline let Luton lead 2-1 within minutes of Bournemouth leveling at 2-2.

You can’t blame them because referee Leigh Doherty didn’t allow what would be Luton’s second TWO MINUTES after he scored Cameron Jerome’s goal.

SEND HIM ROO-DINI

NOW, the king of escapades Houdini himself wouldn’t be able to relate to what Wayne Rooney was doing at Derby.

Whatever is thrown at them, they continue to respond.

The EFL put another transfer ban on them effectively saying, “You’ll be relegated to anything.”

But despite the 21-point deduction, the Rams are in an astonishingly low position and are now just eight points behind safety with 20 games remaining.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/17338502/lane-fleetwood-premier-league-jamie-vardy/ Paddy Lane one of Fleetwood’s young stars is trying to compete with former Army striker Cod and Premier League champion Jamie Vardy

Ashley

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