FORMER Lakelands schoolboy Danny Kane arrived back home to pick up the FAI Under-17 International Player of the Year award last Sunday night.
The Huddersfield Town youth team player represented his local club Lakelands right up until Under-14 level before he made the switch to Cherry Orchard to further his development. Speaking to GazetteSport after the FAI awards night, the young defender’s father, Dave, was full of pride for his son.
“It was a great moment for Danny and all the family,” he said. “Myself and his older brother were his two guests on the night but there were plenty watching on TV and we’re all really proud of him.”
The Huddersfield starlet arrived as just a nominee for the award, which made the moment his name was called out as winner even sweeter for all involved.
“He was absolutely delighted just to be nominated to be honest. When his name was called out last night he was shocked. But he deserves it, 100%; he’s worked his socks off and that was a well earned reward for all he’s put in so far.”
The 17-year-old is closing in on his second year at the Terriers having joined aged 16. The process of leaving home, even for the dream of playing football, across the Irish Sea is often a tough one for young players and their families alike.
“It has been hard for the family, having him gone. He’s 18 next month which will mark two years since he left home.
“If it wasn’t for Skype, it would be a whole lot harder but, I’ll say again, he’s worked so hard and he’s getting rewards for that now like the award last night and winning the league with his Huddersfield team last year.”
Kane’s progress has been positive since making his move to England, captaining Ireland’s Under-16 side, being a regular for the Under-17’s, and is now beginning to push into Huddersfield’s Under-21 squad, coming off the bench as recently as Saturday in a win over top of the table Swansea City.
But it did all begin at local club Lakelands, which Dave reflected on. “I was actually his first coach at Lakelands when Danny was around nine,” he said.
“He spent five very successful years there and loved it. I think he just had to make that move to top of the DDSL and Cherry Orchard because he was getting a lot of attention from scouts.
“We still have great contacts at Lakelands, in particular John McCabe, who Danny is very fond of. Last summer he went back to the club to hand out awards at their presentation, and he always makes sure to visit when he’s home.”