Charlton AthleticSport

‘Helluva lot of potential’ – Charlton teenage defender earns praise from academy chief

Charlton academy boss Steve Avory reckons that teenage centre-back Deji Elerewe has major potential.

The 17-year-old has featured for the Addicks in their early pre-season matches.

And Avory is backing Elerewe to stay grounded despite catching the eye in the tune-up games.

He told the South London Press: “Pre-season presents an opportunity for all of our young players, particularly with the U23 group. Nigel Adkins has always intended to have a good look at that group in pre-season. The whole of that group have joined in with the first-team since day one.

“Deji is an add-on to that, because he is a 17-year-old and through the circumstances that have been presented – with Ryan Inniss getting back to fitness – there was a need to look at another centre-back.

“Anthony Hayes [U23 manager] and myself had no doubt about saying that Deji should go over and have a look at him, which Nigel has done.

“You’re never 100 per cent sure which way that might go, because it is a big thing for a 17-year-old to settle and suddenly go into the first-team training environment, where he hasn’t been before.

“But he had a really successful, progressive season last year, his first year as a scholar. He developed a great deal in terms of on the ball, he became a much more assured player technically and playing out from the back. Defensively we always felt there was something there with him. That’s probably the initial reason he got a scholarship, because he has got that profile you’re looking for in a centre-back.

“It’s presented an opportunity for him and he’s impressed. People have been talking about him. I went to see him at Dartford on Saturday and he gave another solid 60 minutes.

“It’s still the initial part of his development as a young footballer. The one thing I can guarantee with Deji, good support from his family, he is very humble about his success and a very, very good learner. I’m sure he’ll continue to do so. He’s another I think has got a helluva lot of potential.”

PICTURE: KEITH GILLARD

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