Jack Lavery

One to Watch

Ryan Murray

Plenty of youngsters have designs on becoming a professional footballer, but few have the required talent, drive, and determination to realise their lofty ambitions. However, for fifteen-year-old Jack Lavery, this boyhood dream is now well within his grasp.

Hailing from the East Ayrshire town of Stewarton, Jack has already reached several key milestones in his promising early career. Picked up by eagle-eyed St Mirren scouts at just seven years of age, the creative midfielder has plied his trade in the elite section of the Club Academy Scotland (CAS) league for some time, and is on the cusp of representing his country at youth team level.

We asked Jack a few questions about his footballing journey to date.

When did you start playing football?
I joined local side Stewarton Annick when I was just five years old, and was then scouted by St Mirren whilst competing at a festival in Kilwinning. Football has played a huge part in my life, and it’s something I’ve always been passionate about from a very young age. Fortunately, I’ve been able to develop my game in a really professional environment, as St Mirren have incredible facilities and a superb coaching team.

What is your preferred position?
I actually started out as a striker, but have since transitioned into a central midfielder. Coaches such as Fraser Murray and Craig McLeish spotted my quality on the ball and believed I’d be better suited to a midfield role. I tend to operate quite far up the pitch, so would probably describe myself as a number ten. Although my footballing idol is Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcântara, my on-field position is more similar to the one in which Bruno Fernandes plays for Manchester United.

What is it like to play in the elite section of the Club Academy Scotland (CAS) league?
The standard is really strong, with most teams being really well set-up and organised. I would say Celtic and Hearts are perhaps currently the best sides in the division, but each and every fixture is extremely competitive.

How did your call-up to the national team come about?
Scotland scouts frequently attend CAS league fixtures, and I’ve been playing consistently well for St Mirren in recent months. I understand that I was watched on a few occasions, and later selected to advance to an official training camp from a shortlist of 90 players. I’m really proud of this achievement, and desperate to make my first appearance for Scotland.

Who is your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is my dad. I’m immensely grateful for all the support he’s provided so far, and want to repay him by fulfilling my potential. He drives me to training and matches, gives me feedback on my performances, and is a constant source of encouragement – I wouldn’t be where I am now without him.

And finally, what are your career aspirations?
I’ll hopefully sign my first professional contract within the next twelve months and start to think about breaking into St Mirren’s first-team squad at some stage after. One or two clubs have shown an interest in me, but I’m just focused on working hard and improving my game. My ultimate dream is to play in the English Premier League, and know my Dad will help me in whatever way he can to help me reach the highest level possible.

Ayrshire has produced a number of world-class footballers; could Jack Lavery be the next to join this esteemed group of gifted individuals? Based on his current trajectory, this remains a possibility…