A RASTRICK man is heading the search to find the next Wayne Rooney.
Former Huddersfield Town Academy scout Steve Calligan has taken over as Everton’s new senior scout.
He has been given the task by Everton’s Academy manager Alan Irwin to get out and about to as many junior football games as possible in the Yorkshire region to find the best talent the county has to offer.
He originally joined Terry Gill and Neil Johnson at Clifton Rangers to cut his teeth in the junior game, coaching the under-7s, U9s and U10s.
When that came to an end due to family commitments and being made redundant after 13 years at the former Holset Engineering a good friend gifted Steve the opportunity to get back in to grass roots football.
“My pal David Crossley at Huddersfield Town asked me if I would like to join him at Town’s academy.
“I went down to the Galpharm Stadium and they gave me a chance. After a couple of years down there, there were some changes that I did not agree with and I resigned.
“Fortunately for me, Manchester City and Everton had seen what I had been up to and both invited me along for an interview with a view to coming on board with their respective academy set-ups.
After going to Goodison Park, I liked what they were doing at Everton and they asked me to look at five to 16-year-olds.
“They are opening at facility at Darton, Barnsley, for the Yorkshire-based players as well to make travelling to training easier.
“The current training ground at Finch Farm is in Halewood, Liverpool, and so is a bit far to be asking the parents to take them, especially the younger ones,” said Steve.
“I have been up to watch the lads they already have in training and what a difference. There is no doubt Huddersfield has a good Academy and have brought through some very talented youngsters but the difference between them and the boys at Everton is phenomenal.
“They are sharper and have more skills and the leap from League One to the Premiership is obvious.”
Mark Waldron, head of recruitment for Everton, gave Steve the good news and on Tuesday this week he attended a course at Goodison to go through what is expected of him and the six scouts that will be working under him.
“It’s all happened a bit fast but it is great to see that the club has so much faith in me,” said Steve.
“The talent is definitely around here for me to discover; just look at young Elliott Kebbie who went to Hipperholme Grammar. He is now on the books at Athletico Madrid.”
For now Steve and his team will be focusing on five, six and seven-year-olds and also 11-15s, going into the schools and watching county games, which is no hard task for football mad Steve.
The game runs through the whole family’s veins, with his brother Mark being picked from Elland Athletic’s Under 18s to enjoy two seasons with Blackburn Rovers and now his son (Steve’s nephew) is at Huddersfield Town’s under-10s after having spells at Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn.
Mark’s team mate at Elland, Peter Mumby, also joined him the same time at Rovers and he is now part of the coaching staff at Leeds United.
Steve, 48, said: “You really have to have a good eye for it to spot the talent. Some people don’t really know what they are looking for and so for Everton to put their faith in me means a lot.
“I hope I can go to David Moyes one day, as I have yet to meet him, and say I found that kid.
“Since being made redundant I managed to get a job three nights a week at Tesco in Brighouse and as much as I enjoy it I do want to make scouting my career now.
“The lads all ask me to come and watch them and the girls on the tills are always telling me about their friends or partners.
“I can’t get round them all. I just hope that I do find that next big thing.”