It has been a superb week for Longridge Town midfielder George Thomason, as he has signed a deal with League One side Bolton Wanderers - his boyhood club.
The 18-year-old has played 25 times for Lee Ashcroft's side this season, scoring twice in that time, with two man of the match awards also.
Released by Blackpool in the Summer of 2018 George was snapped up by Town Manager Lee Ashcroft who saw his potential as a midfielder with the youngster having spent his Blackpool career as a left full-back. ''He's had an outstanding year with us'', said Ashcroft, the former PNE and West Brom forward, ''and I couldn't be more pleased for the lad. He has a superb attitude, is willing to listen and learn, and his confidence has come on in leaps and bounds. A big difference for him will be the speed of thought in the professional game, but George is a very intelligent footballer and has a great football brain for such a young lad.''
It is the second time that Ashcroft has helped provide Whites boss Keith Hill with a player, having previously overseen Joe Bunney's move to Rochdale in 2013. Bunney, of course, is also now on Wanderers books, recovering from injuries sustained in a car accident, and has since gone on to make 160 Football league appearances.
Whilst it's a dream move for young George, Ashcroft now has the difficult task of replacing him in a Longridge side going for their 3rd promotion in 3 seasons. ''Well, that's always the downside to be honest, and George is the second lad to move on recently after 18-year-old Finlay Sinclair-Smith joined FC United, which in itself is another great move for Fin as he played in front of over 2,000 people last week. My job, of course, is to do the best for Longridge Town but also to improve players, and if we are to be known as a progressive Club in that area it can only be good for us. These young lads that are released from Clubs often drift away, and can even stop playing the game if they become too disillusioned, but it's still a game that should be enjoyed. If you can get them enjoying the game again, then you see the benefits out on the pitch in their performances and that is very satisfying.''
As for Longridge, Trotters boss Keith Hill has promised to take a First Team squad up the Ribble Valley for a pre-season friendly in the Summer. ''That's a great gesture from Keith, to be honest, I've known him a long time and when I rang him about George back in October he was great with the lad and his family, giving him a week-long trial, good feedback and committed to this January move there and then. We are all very proud at Longridge of George, and the other young players that have moved on having done well for us, and I know that he's in good hands at Bolton.''
On joining the club, Thomason told the BWCF website: “It’s a childhood dream."
“Becoming a professional footballer at a huge club like this is unbelievable and I’m buzzing to just kick on and get going and play for this great club.”