Academy Manager Stewart Drummond admits Adam Mayor has come on leaps and bounds over the past 12 months, as the 18-year-old continues to progress into the first-team plans at Morecambe.
Mayor came through the Academy set-up at the Mazuma Stadium, joining the Club from Preston as a 16-year-old, and has gone on to represent the Shrimps' first-team on several occasions this season, making his first league start for the side in the midweek draw with Derby County.
Stewart Drummond, who has seen Mayor's progression first-hand over the past couple of years, has discussed his thoughts on one of the youngsters making that step-up.
"Progressing from U18 level to first team level is a big jump, and Adam has gone through a number of steps to get to where he is now," he said.
"Adam joined us at U16's, and we retained him as a third year scholar to give him the time to develop and get used to open age football. Players develop at different rates, but when Adam came to us from Preston, he was physically developed and had a good profile with his speed and power. His confidence was the stumbling block at that point and he didn't back himself in games. He needed to be a bit more positive when in possession of the ball, and once he got over that, we all saw a real improvement in his overall game.
"He spent a productive work experience loan out at Colne earlier in the season, which has really helped him and gave him that experience of men's first team football, which is really crucial. Experiencing the dressing room atmosphere, playing in front of supporters and learning the physicality of the game has been a benefit to him.
"He's come on leaps and bounds when you look at him now compared to where he was 12 months ago. His confidence and understanding of the game has really improved, so we're all really pleased for Adam."
Having already touched on Adam's loan spell at Northern Premier League side Colne earlier this season, Drummond was keen to stress how vital he views going out on loan to aid a player's development.
"For me, going out on loan and getting that experience of men's first team football is just as important, if not more so, than the U18 programme," he said.
"We don't have the U21 Development Squad group here to act as a buffer between U18's and men's football, so going out and playing regularly week-in, week-out in a competitive environment is so important.
"There's a couple more players who are currently out on loan, so the pathway is there now in terms of where we want to take this Academy going forward, and that is great to see."