Former Clitheroe FC boss Carl Garner has not been surprised by the progress made by one-time Blues duo Duncan Watmore and Danny Williams.
Garner, now head of recruitment at Conference North outfit Stockport County, brought the pair to Shawbridge during his tenure in the Ribble Valley.
We spotted that ability and pushed them forwards in their careersCarl Garner
Watmore, who joined on loan from Altrincham during the 2011/12 term, was awarded the Barclays Under 21 Premier League Player of the Year award after netting 11 goals in 18 appearances for Sunderland.
The 21-year-old has also scored three times in as many appearances for England Under 20s in Toulon.
“I think Duncan will break through next season,” said Garner. “He will be playing first team football next term. He’s got pace, natural ability and a good attitude. Those traits are priceless.
“He was phenomenal. He had pure, raw pace and ability you can’t coach. He can just go past people with ease. I could see his potential then.
“I’ve watched him a few times since. If he doesn’t get his chance at Sunderland there will be league teams queuing up for him. He’s tore it to pieces this season and had an impact in virtually every game he’s played. There’s a massive awareness of Duncan now and it’s a big season for him next year.”
Meanwhile, Williams replaced Aaron Doran as a 78th minute substitute as Inverness Caledonian Thistle beat Falkirk 2-1 at Hampden Park to lift the Scottish Cup.
“Danny has just won the Scottish Cup which is a great achievement,” Garner said. “I brought him in when he was kicking his heels together on the bench at FC United. We kick-started his career.
“Danny is another with great ability, he has a good attitude and he’s a very good trainer. He’s one of many successes at Clitheroe.
“I follow them all closely and I take pride in seeing what they’ve gone on to achieve. We spotted that ability and pushed them forwards in their careers.”