Interview: Samsung Win A Pro Contract winners Jack Sherratt and Kayden Jackson

Samsung Win A Pro Contract winners Jack Sherratt (right) and Kayden Jackson (left) kindly took the time to talk to us here at Football Friends about what their plans are, advice to this year’s applicants and their experiences in football. 

Sherratt, after spending eight years at Port Vale, won a year contract with London club Leyton orient, whilst Jackson got his with Swindon Town. Both 19 years of age, the pair are now looking towards their new, exciting journey as professional footballers.

First of all, where did you both hear about the win a pro?

Jack Sherratt: My mate won it last year, Chris Smith. I think they approached it differently this year, because we had to write down what we had done in football. The year before they randomly out of the hat, because 5000 enter but only 360 can do the trials.

Kayden Jackson: I came across it when it was closing on Facebook, I think maybe a few days before, and just had a go. I was quite lucky to catch it really.

Over 5000 people entered the competition, at what stage did you realise you had a chance of winning?

JS: Probably the final three is when it gets serious because obviously you’re training at both clubs then aren’t you, so that’s when the managers are looking at you more because there are two places up for grabs.

KJ: Even when you get to the final 11 you look around and you think, ‘have I got a chance?”. When our names got read out in the final three you start to think, this actually might happen!

Jack you were at Port Vale and Kayden Bradford and Leeds, but did you feel pressure from other trialists who were on the books of bigger professional clubs?

KJ: I suppose it was a bit nerve racking when you hear about the other players who have been at big clubs. I know some were at West Ham and places like that, and they’re huge clubs but you try not to think about other players and try to concentrate on yourself.

JS: Yeah, it’s not really about where you have been it’s about how you do at the trials. That’s what will win you the contract.

What piece of advice would you give to anyone entering this year’s event?

JS: I know it’s hard to say don’t be nervous, but just go in there and try to play without nerves because that’s when you play at your best.

KJ: Don’t be greedy. In the trials we played against players who were greedy and it doesn’t look good from the scouts’ point of view. Being greedy won’t do you any good. Don’t try too hard and just play your natural game.

Kayden and Jack, as well as Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier, were speaking at the Samsung Experience Store, Westfield, Stratford, at the launch of Samsung Win A Pro Contract, a nationwide competition where amateur footballers can win one-year professional contracts at Swindon Town, Leyton Orient and Wycombe Wanderers. Register for a trial at

How do your new clubs compare to the previous clubs you have been at?

JS: It’s a big step up. I was at Port Vale from 8-years-old until 16, so you’re young then but now it gets serious. It’s my job now. Everyone is there training every day so that’s a big difference for me but both clubs are good standards and I just can’t wait to get going at Leyton Orient now.

KJ: I was a lot younger at Bradford, but last year at Leeds it was an amazing experience. Their training ground is Premier League standard so it was brilliant for me. Obviously at Swindon it will be a bit different as they’re not the size of Leeds but I cannot wait to get down there.

Kayden, are you annoyed to miss out on working with Paolo Di Canio?

KJ: I am, but from what I have been hearing he didn’t really give the youth players a chance. So for me it’s a bad thing but it’s also a good thing because what Kevin McDonald has done at Aston Villa gives you belief.

Have either of you got any targets for your new clubs?

KJ: Not really. Expectations at Swindon will be quite low as the other two who have won the competition haven’t done as well as they’d hoped to do, so all I can do is as well as I can. It definitely takes the pressure off me though.

JS: You have to go in with the same mentality. You can’t go in thinking that everyone is better than you. We need to show them what we can do.

If all goes well next season then you could be playing against each other. How would you feel about that?

JS:[laughing] I’ll have to give him a kick.

KJ: He won’t be able to catch me!