A FORMER Cheadle Academy student has graduated to Championship level as a professional footballer.
He's teenager Jordan Brown who has been named on the subs bench for Derby County's local derby with Notts Forest at Pride Park today (Saturday, July 4).
Jordan, who only recently celebrated his 19th birthday, learnt his craft with Cheadle SMU juniors.
He was invited to join the Stoke City Academy after being spotted playing in the local schoolboy leagues for SMU.
He was upset to be released by the Potters as a 15-year-old striker, having set his heart on making football his career.
However, it wasn't long before a smile returned to Jordan's face after he was invited to join the Derby junior set-up.
Since then Jordan has progressed through the Rams youth ranks after being successfully converted to either a defensive or midfield role
So well has Jordan adapted to either position he has made the step up to the U23s squad , gaining experience in the company of some seasoned professionals
Jordan was part of the under-18 side that won the Premier League last season - making 24 appearances - and he has moved up to the under-23s this season.
He has caught the eye over the past year with his consistency and versatility whether playing anywhere across the backline or in midfield.
Brown featured in the UEFA Youth League this season as Derby beat FC Minsk, IA Akranes and Borussia Dortmund before they lost to RB Salzburg in the last 16. Brown scored in the excellent 3-1 home victory over Dortmund in February.
He also found the net in the under-23s' last game before lockdown, the International Cup clash with West Ham United.
When asked about Brown earlier this season, under-23s' coach Craig Short likened the teenager to former Manchester United star Denis Irwin.
"You ask him his favourite position and he says left-back," said Short, "but he's right-footed - he's Denis Irwin! That's what we call him!
"He can do a job as a holding midfielder, too, he's played centre-back, he's played right-back. He's technically very good, and a really good lad.
"We're lucky that we've got some really, really good lads who have been taught well at the lower age groups, and we get the benefit.
"Hopefully, we can just push them on the next bit. We want to see them get a career in the game."