Young Carluke footballer Tom Leighton signs for Motherwell

Tom Leighton
Tom Leighton

Young Carluke footballer Tom Leighton has signed a pro youth contract with SPL side Motherwell.

Twelve-year-old Tom attended Kirkton Primary prior to successfully applying to join the Scottish FA School of Football Group based at Braidhurst High School in Motherwell.

Tom combines his education at Braidhurst with top SFA coaching every day and that dedication has paid off when Motherwell snapped up the youngster.

Tom said: “The training and facilities are just perfect.

“My coach at school Paul Burns is a very good coach.

“At Braidhurst the education comes first and every teacher tries to make sure you are achieving to your maximum.

“Joining Braidhurst has been one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me and I was simply overjoyed to sign pro-youth with Motherwell.”

Tom, who can play in centre defence or midfield, began playing football with Clyde Valley Boys Club.

He was selected to be part of the School of Football having impressed selectors at trials held at Ravenscraig Sports Centre last summer.

Over 200 youngsters took part in the trials with Tom, and big brother Robbie, making the final cut of 22.

Numerous scouts have watched Tom since then and it was Motherwell, through their Youth Academy director Gordon Young, who won the race for Tom’s signature.

Mum Lesley said: “Tom was playing for Clyde Valley and was playing with boys two years older than himself.

“The extra coaching he is receiving at the school has really helped him.

“As well as the coaching at the school, Tom is training three times a week with Motherwell and playing at the weekend; he is football daft.

“Other teams have watched him but Motherwell is close to home and he is really enjoying it.

“Robbie is part of the school as well and he has had scouts coming to watch him as well so it’s definitely working.

“I’m really proud of them both.”

As part of the Scottish FA’s £15 million performance strategy, aimed at improving the abilities of the best Scottish players, seven schools were selected to house the cream of the country’s talented young footballers.

SFA Performance Director Mark Wotte believes the new schools will help produce Scotland internationalists of the future and has spoken enthusiastically of the relationship between the SFA, education authorities, local authorities and the clubs.

The schools provide a minimum five extra coaching sessions focusing on skills development. Over a four-year period, this will provide the young footballers with an extra 800 sessions of training.