Ryan Croasdale is well aware of the opportunity that’s been handed to him.
And the 19-year-old midfielder is determined to take his second chance in the professional game after joining Sheffield Wednesday following his release by Preston North End.
The former Ripley St Thomas pupil has signed a one-year deal with the Owls having been deemed surplus to requirements by a club he’s been with since the age of eight.
“I’m really happy,” said the Lancaster lad whose family home is on Barton Road.
“It didn’t work out at Preston because they’ve got a couple of really good young players.
“But this is another opportunity for me to show what I’m made of.
“It’s massive club and a big opportunity for me to prove myself. I’m really looking forward to it.”
The teenager is set to join the Wednesday development squad after teaming up with former North End youth coach Dean Ramsdale at Wednesday where he is now academy manager.
“I’ve know Rammers for four or five years,” said the box-to-box midfielder.
“He made me captain of the youth team when I was 16.
“Having a friendly face there will be really important.
“I’m going into the under 21s but hopefully we’ll be training with the first-team in pre-season.
“You never know. There’s always a chance I can push myself into the first team.”
Croasdale made just the one senior appearance for North End, playing the first half of a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy defeat to Oldham, but picked up first team experience last season on loan at Skrill Premier side Tamworth before finishing the 2013-2014 campaign with Conference North outfit Stalybridge Celtic.
“The loan spells were good,” he said.
“It didn’t really work out at Tamworth because there were a lot of players coming in and out.
“But Stalybridge Celtic was really good. I got about 15 games in and was playing pretty much every week which was a good experience.”
The midfielder is thankful to Ripley who allowed him to have one day out of school to pursue his professional footballing dream in his early days.
It allowed dad Mark, the head of a sporting family as England and GB Mountain Running Team Manager, and mum Julie, to rack up the miles taking him to Deepdale.
“When I was about 15 I started on a day release programme with PNE where I took a day out of school,” said Croasdale.
“I’m really grateful. They (Ripley) gave me the opportunity to choose my career.
“There was training at night too and my mum and dad drove me through to Preston all the time.”
Now Wednesday have found Croasdale digs in Sheffield as he moves away from Lancashire for the first time.
And he admits it was difficult hearing his 11 years at Preston had come to an end.
“Being let go by any club is hard but I’d been with Preston since I was eight,” said the 19-year-old.
“In a way it was my life and I grew up there.
“It was hard to take but now it’s all about how I react.”