Kaleb Young joined Whickham FC from Northern League Division Two side Birtley Town over the Christmas period. The 20-year-old has since made his mark on the team with two goals in four league appearances. WRITES ADAM TONES
Young was a player on Whickham manager Tony Fawcett’s radar for a while after impressive league displays for his local team.
The midfielder also produced a solid performance against Whickham, when his former club Birtley Town were defeated by the Lang Jacks in December’s Durham Challenge Cup fixture.
Kaleb has proved an important signing for the club, the box-to-box midfielder has scored two crucial goals and chipped in with a couple of assists in the Lang Jacks impressive recent run of form.
The talented midfielder has ambitions to play as high as possible and would like to do that with Whickham following stints at clubs higher up the football pyramid.
Young said: “When I was 16, I got offered a scholarship with Morecombe, I was there for two years.
“When I came back, I joined Hebburn Town reserves for a season before Covid hit again.
“After Covid I joined Birtley Town which is my local club for one season before moving to Whickham.”
Young spoke of his experience while with professional club Morecombe, adding: “It was a very good experience, moving away at that young age was very eye opening, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself and would not change anything.”
“It was a very good experience being in full time footballer, training everyday and playing on a Saturday.
“I’m enjoying playing my football, I enjoy playing on a Saturday. I want to play as high as I can, if that’s with Whickham that’s even better.”
Speaking about his move to the First Mortgage Glebe, the former Morecombe scholar said: “My last game for Birtley was against Whickham, it was a no brainer really with the higher league and that match outlined how good Whickham were when we played them.
“The pressing and winning the ball back as well as how many chances Whickham created. It’s a really exciting young team to be around and the lads are great.
“In every game I’ve played in we’ve controlled the ball really well; I think we’ve always been on the front foot with teams having to break us down.”
Young is confident Whickham have the personnel to push for promotion if not this season next. He added: “Yes, definitely, obviously this season there is not many games left but I don’t see why we can’t push for promotion.
“We are on great form at the moment and there is another cup to play for, so hopefully we can get some silverware at the end of the season.”
“Especially next season, if we don’t make the play-off’s we will be aiming to push for promotion with Whickham next season.”
One area Kaleb is hoping Whickham can really push for is the First Division Cup. The Lang Jacks face West Auckland Town in the second round.
He added: “I think we’ve got to have the confidence in ourselves, it’s a division one tournament so I don’t see why not, we want to win every game.
“I think it’s always the aim, as long as we keep winning games, I don’t see why we can’t get to the final and win some silverware.
“It’s our league and I think we are the most inform team, but no one knows what is going to happen. It’s a one-off game and if you lose your out, anything can happen on the day.”
Speaking about his favoured position since arriving at the Glebe, Young has felt more comfortable playing as a number eight. He said: “When I’m as fit as I can be, I’m a number eight, box-to-box. If not, I also like playing as a ten.
“I’m trying to get myself back to as fit as I can be, we train twice a week and play on a Saturday.
“It’s very intense the way we play and train, so it helps me to get fitter.”
Kaleb went on to talk about the current crop of players within the Whickham team, he added: “It helps me as a player, knowing who is behind me.
“If I don’t play well one week, I know for a fact someone is taking my position the week after because that’s how good of a squad we’ve got.
“There is not one weak stop in our squad at the moment. The lads are brilliant, I think in every position there is two or three players that can cover if one is not available or injured.
“I think we all should be aiming for promotion, the squad we’ve got on paper is a joke with the talent we’ve got in the team.”
Quick fire player facts – Kaleb Young
Occupation: PE Teacher
Position: Central Midfielder
Favourite Team: Newcastle United
Favourite Past Player: Kaka
Favourite Current Player: Kevin De Bruyne
Messi or Ronaldo: Messi – All round player.
5-a-side Team: Buffon, Maldini, Kaka, Ronaldinho, Messi