Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a teenage academy player trying to make your way at a lower league club, when suddenly a Premier League side comes calling?
That’s the story of promising 17-year-old Burton Albion goalkeeper Teddy Sharman-Lowe.
Released by Leicester City as a schoolboy, the young goalkeeper - like many when released at a young age - thought his football dream was over, until he was picked up by Burton Albion’s Youth Academy and given a second chance to hone his craft.
And what a move it turned out to be, for both club and player. Having worked his way through the Burton Academy and into first team contention, this summer the 17 year old received the phone call of dreams, as former Premier League Champions Chelsea offered him a professional contract having kept a closes eye on him at youth level.
In just a few years Sharman-Lowe went from having his dream taken away from him, to signing for one of the biggest football clubs in the world.
Speaking on last week's Official EFL Podcast, Mark Clemmit was joined by both Sharman-Lowe and Burton Albion Academy Manager Dan Robinson, to tell the incredible story.
“It was amazing, everyone from my family was there and they were jumping up and down with excitement!
The Blues snapped up the 17-year-old stopper earlier this summer, before loaning him straight back to Burton Albion to continue his development.
“The last month has been very surreal, it all happened so quickly as well. After I signed for Chelsea, I went straight back to Burton so I didn't actually meet anyone, so it didn’t really kick in for a few weeks to be honest.
“It was a hard first day [at Chelsea] because I was starting again, but the amount of support I got to make me feel welcome from the boys I’ve known through the England set up to the ones I’ve never met before was amazing."
Signing for Chelsea as a teenager is the stuff dreams are made of. It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago this bright young talent was facing the prospect of life without football having been released by Leicester City.
Of course Chelsea’s new signing is one for the future, with Frank Lampard and his team of experts at Chelsea loaning Sharman-Lowe straight back to Jake Buxton’s side, where he will no doubt continue his impressive development, gaining valuable first team experience along the way.
“Burton have been amazing with me. They picked me up after I left Leicester, which was an all-time low for me. I wasn’t in the best head space when they came for me, but to find an amazing club like Burton Albion with the most helpful and supportive staff, I can only show gratitude to them.
“From the moment I joined to when I was trying to get my scholarship, they continued to push me and now I’ve moved on, but I owe pretty much everything to them.”
Many young players find themselves in a similar situation to Sharman-Lowe; released from a club, lacking confidence and hope, not knowing what their next move will be. And the mature teenager wasn’t shy in passing on advice for others who may find themselves in the same position.
“You hear it a lot, I know it’s a cliche, but you’ve just got to keep going,” he said.
“Keep pushing and never give up. Even when I left Leicester and came to Burton, I still wasn’t in the best head space, but you’ve just got to push through it and believe in yourself because once that doubt creeps into your mind it can ruin you.
“When I was 16 or 17 fighting for a scholarship at Burton, it was never certain. I was never certain that I was good enough to make something happen so you’ve just got to keep pushing through and keep making stuff happen for yourself to make sure you get there.”
Intelligent, eloquent and down to earth. There’s no doubt that with an attitude like that, Sharman-Lowe has a bright future ahead of him. An opinion shared up by Burton Academy Manager Dan Robinson, who has worked with the youngster for a number of years now.
“We saw real potential in his ability when he came in,” Robinson said. "He is a great character from a smashing family and we thought, let’s give the lad a chance. And we’re so chuffed that we did because he progressed very quickly, he had a really good year with us in the schoolboy programme to get his scholarship and he came with us to Holland on a pre-season trip last year.
"Since then he’s made his England debut and signed for one of the biggest clubs in the world. So it’s all been a bit of a whirlwind for him.
“But this is a really nice story of a boy who got told he wasn’t at the level for a top club, came to us in League One, we worked with him to develop him and he worked really hard himself, and now look, he’s doing fantastically well at another level.”
There’s no doubt that many youngsters who walk the corridors at EFL clubs go on to achieve great things at the highest level of the game. There have been many notable graduates that have gone on to have impressive careers, whether that be in terms of domestic honours, or representing their country at international level.
It’s early days, but could Teddy Sharman-Lowe join the long list of young English talent tipped to reach the top?
“This particular situation with Ted really does give young kids - girls and boys - hope," Robinson concluded.
"You might get setbacks, we all do at some point, but it’s about how you channel yourself and how you focus yourself after that that gives you the opportunity.
“We’re really proud of him and we’re really chuffed that he’s doing well. He’s got a long way to go but keep an eye on him and remember the name because he’s going to be star one day."