Barnsley: Academy chief backs trio to flourish after signing pro deals

Barnsley Academy chief Ronnie Branson
Barnsley Academy chief Ronnie Branson

Reds Academy boss Ronnie Branson has tipped the club’s three new senior professionals to flourish after signing their first deals.

George Smith, George Maris and Nana Boakye-Yiadom all signed first year terms to join up with Danny Wilson’s squad.

And Branson says he has been impressed by the trio.

“We’re expecting big things from Nana,” Branson said.

“He came to us from West Ham a couple of years ago.

“He’s an out-and-out forward, a big target man but he can score goals too.

“Nana’s strong, powerful and quick off the mark.

“George Maris is technically very good.

“He can play on the right or just behind the front two.

“I call him an unlocker. He’s a very clever player.

“As well as scoring goals, he’s got a great eye for playing other people in.

“He’s a good technical footballer.

“Him and Nana had a bit of a partnership going. They linked up very well.

“When you get that understanding it can be developed and we’ll be looking to do that in the U21s with them next season.

“George Smith is a real workhorse. He played almost every U18 game and plenty for the U21s.

“Every challenge we’ve handed him around the U21s he has more than coped with.

“He’s a very good left back, he goes forward, he’s got a great engine and a good all round player.”

Branson is particularly delighted to see three of his products progress to senior level this summer.

He said: “Ultimately, the number of players you put in and around the first team is what you’re going to be measured on as an Academy in terms of success.

“It’s great to win games and have good cup runs but it’s all about the bodies you have produced.

“We’ve had some good success this year and we’re confident in the next group to follow these three through.”