Long-serving Hendon man backs youngster Keagan Cole to turn professional
PUBLISHED: 06:00 12 November 2016 | UPDATED: 10:16 14 November 2016
Hendon utility man Casey Maclaren says Keagan Cole is the best youngster he has seen during his decade at the club – and he believes the 17-year-old striker will make a mark in the professional game.
Maclaren, who played his 300th game for the Greens last month, feels Cole has remarkable potential as the teenager, who has been sidelined with a calf strain, targets a return against Metropolitan Police in Saturday’s London Senior Cup tie.
“He’s unbelievable, his ability is frightening,” said Maclaren.
“He was our best player towards the end of last season and that was a pretty incredible feat considering he was only 16 and playing men’s football for the first time.
“I’ve never seen a kid that age as good as him. There obviously will be at academies, but to come and play non-league football and stand out like he has is absolutely brilliant.”
While the former West Ham youngster has had to wait for first-team opportunities at Hendon this season, he showed his attributes last month.
Cole notched his first senior competitive goal for the club against Wembley in the Middlesex Senior Cup, and three days later he registered for the first time in the Ryman League Premier Division, scoring with a stunning 25-yard strike in a 2-1 win at Worthing.
“He had a couple of holidays in pre-season so he’s not been in the team as much as I thought he would be – he’s had to wait for his opportunity,” said Maclaren.
“You can’t rely heavily on someone like that though, and Gary knows he’s got to manage him.
“He was good against Wembley but I felt at Worthing he really grabbed hold of his opportunity and showed everyone what he’s about.
“He definitely has the capability to turn professional in the next few years and get into the Football League. He has so much potential – I can’t speak highly enough of him.
“He’s a lovely kid as well so it would be great to see him progress at Hendon and move on when the time is right, as he will move up the leagues – I’ve got absolutely no doubt about that.”
Maclaren has been frustrated with his side’s performance in the league – they are currently lying fourth bottom of the table.
“We made some great additions over the summer. I think Spencer (McCall) was a great addition, as well as Karl Oliyide. Niko Muir is a quality, quality centre forward – as good as I’ve ever played with.
“He knows where the back of the net is and does so much more than that. So the quality is there we just need to start showing it.”
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