16-year-old Dane McCullough has signed for Premier League side Burnley for an undisclosed fee and will join their recently upgrade category 1 academy set-up. The former Portadown FC star is highly-rated in is home country of Northern Ireland.
What We Know
McCollough, Portadown, of the Northern Ireland Football Association Bluefin Sport Championship, haven't been widely covered by the English media or top-flight clubs but Burnley's scouts have clearly been looking into untapped markets, and they may have found a gem.
McCollough made his debut for Portadown first team at aged 15 and has made two appearances for the side, winning both.
McCullough is a third generation Portadown first team player with both his father and grandfather having made appearances for the club and his talent has been highly spoke of. In an interview on Portadown's club website current boss Matthew Tipton said: "I’m delighted that another of our young players has got a move to England.
"Dane McCullough will be moving to Premier League club Burnley FC & it’s fully deserved. Dane epitomises everything that we want in young players. I’ve never come across a young player that has worked harder at their game than Dane & this move is his just reward for the work he has put in."
McCullough's new home is somewhat of a new home to all Clarets youngsters after the academy's recent change in status. It is expected McCollough will join the U18's with a potential early step up to the U23s on the cards if he continues to shine.
The clubs new category one status allows for a better chance of bringing through top class youth prospects like Dwight McNeil. It now means the club's U18 side will be playing in the northern group of the U18 Premier League whilst the U23s will turnout in the second division of the Premier League 2.
Academy manger Jon Pepper told Burnley: "It’s massive for a club like Burnley. If you can produce your own and add more Academy players into the first-team squad and more assets into the club, it’s going to be a really good model to operate, moving forwards.
"It’s a competitive environment and if you can produce two or three of your own into that first-team squad it does save you a massive amount in transfer fees, as well as producing assets for yourself."
McCollough, for Burnley, will now be one of their own they hope to push through the youth ranks and into the first team.