Date: 18th March 2010 at 8:45am
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It has been a busy time at the club recently on the youth front and we provide an update on some of the announcements.

Mehdi Lazaar cleared to play for Clarets

Mehdi Lazaar has been cleared to play for Burnley by the Football Association. Lazaar is a 17-year old Belgium youth international striker who has previously plated at youth level for Belgian clubs, Ghent, Standard Liege and Royal Racing FC Montegnee.

Manchester City offered Lazaar a deal a year ago but were unable to agree a fee with Montegnee so it is a bit of a coup for the Clarets to now have him on their books. Lazaar signed a two-year scholarship deal with the Clarets in January this year and has been waiting for clearance to play by the FA, It is expected that Lazaar will sign a professional deal in July 2010

Vital Burnley wish to thank Burnley FC for the use of the above photograph

International Honours for Clarets Youth

Clarets defender Neil Yadolahi is in the Republic of Ireland under-17 squad for three European Championship qualifying games being played in Greece from 19th-24th March whilst midfielder, David Lynch is on stand-by for the tournament.

Our midfielder Joe McKee has also been selected for three days of training and coaching sessions with the Scotland under-19 squad.

New deals for Clarets` Quintet

The Clarets have given new contracts to five young players as boss Brian Laws gives them the chance to follow in his footsteps and establish themselves as first-team players at Turf Moor.

First-year professionals Alex Ray Harvey, Chris Lynch, Chris Anderson, Nik Kudiersky and Wes Fletcher have been given 12-month deals to extend their stay until the end of next season.

Meanwhile, defender Ben Hoskin, 19, who has been on a short-term deal following his recovery from injury, will have his future decided at the end of the current campaign.

Fletcher, Hoskin and midfielders Anderson, 19, and Harvey, 19, have all been involved at reserve-team level in recent weeks with striker Fletcher, 20, also spending a month on loan with League Two side Grimsby Town.

Nineteen-year-old defenders Lynch, who started the season on loan at Chester City, and Kudiersky are currently recovering from knee operations.

But they now know they have another 12 months to make a further impression and try and follow the route Laws took in going from the youth set-up to becoming a first-team regular with the Clarets in the early 1980s en route to a 650-game playing career.

‘Having come through the structure myself I know how valuable it is to the football club that we get that conveyor belt up and running and produce the best quality we possibly can,’ said Laws.

‘It’s the only way for the future of football and financially it’s the best way to run a football club.

‘Having had success myself going though the production line here I feel it’s important we continue it and embrace it and make it better.’

Laws added: ‘Whichever club I’ve been at I’ve always had a hands-on approach with the younger element because it’s important we get to know them as quickly as we possibly we can and more importantly utilise that production line.

‘I had great success at Scunthorpe and success at Sheffield Wednesday and I hope we can mirror that at Burnley.’

Pro deals for Clarets youngsters

Dominic Knowles and Michael King have been awarded professional contracts at Turf Moor.

The pair have been offered 12-month deals from the start of next season.

However, second-year scholars Liam Newman, Oliver Devenney, Jake McEneaney and Danny MacDonald are to be released at the end of the season.

Oswaldtwistle-born striker Knowles, 18, has been at Turf Moor since joining the Clarets` centre of excellence at the age of nine.

He is leading scorer for the youth team this season and has been involved at reserve-team level.

King , 18, who comes from Aughton, near Ormskirk, was spotted playing for Lancashire and has developed as a free-scoring left-sided midfielder since joining the Clarets` youth set-up a couple of years ago.

“It`s an exciting time for them and they have deserved this chance,” said Burnley FC`s director of youth Martin Dobson.

“We have kept first-team manager Brian Laws involved with everything and he`s happy with these decisions.

“We will sit down with the two players at the end of the season and talk about the next 12 months.”

Dobson added: “This is a further part of their development and they have to move on into the real world now.

“There is a lot of hard work before them and it is a fantastic opportunity for them.”

Meanwhile, the Clarets will do their best to help midfielders Newman and Devenney, left-back McEneaney and goalkeeper MacDonald get fixed up with new clubs with Newman and Devenney having already trained with Crewe and Rochdale respectively.

The quartet will also get the opportunity to attend exit trials for players released by their clubs at Warwick University at the end of the month and will still be involved with the Clarets until the end of the season.

“We have spoken to them all individually and will notify clubs of their availability,” said Dobson.

“I have been in their position and I know how they feel.

“It`s a difficult time but if they can get a career somewhere else we will encourage them to believe in themselves.”

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