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Lecturer celebrates star graduate's Premier League move

A Leeds Beckett University lecturer has been praised for his role in nurturing a young footballer through his journey from playing part-time to the Premier League.

Carnegie School of Sport Lecturer Lee Tucker pictured with V9 academy graduate Sam McCallum who is the first player from the academy to join a Premier League club

Left back Sam McCallum has signed a four-year deal with Norwich City, having graduated from the V9 Academy co-ran by Carnegie School of Sport Senior Lecturer Lee Tucker.

Lee, who combines his university role alongside working as Project Leader and Head of Recruitment for V9, first spotted Sam in 2017, who is one of 20 players to gain a professional contract from the academy.

V9 was initially set up by Leicester City striker and former England international, Jamie Vardy, with the aim of seeing players follow in the footsteps of Vardy, who went from playing non-league football to becoming a Premier League winner.

Lee first got involved with V9 after being approached by Jamie Vardy’s player agent John Morris, who is a former course friend of Lee’s after they studied BA (Hons) Sport Development together.

After speaking with John about the V9 project, Lee was keen to get involved.

He said: “John approached me about getting involved with the project, alongside himself and Jamie and Rebekah Vardy.

“The project aims to help non-league footballers make the step up into the professional leagues and sees players receive guidance from professional coaches. The players get to stay in the rooms of Manchester City players, where they experience life as a premier league player and get to train in world class facilities.”

The academy was featured in a documentary on Sky Sports in 2017, which documented the players’ journey through the academy alongside Lee’s progress during the recruitment stages.

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