A student at Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy has been offered an Elite Player Performance Plan scholarship with Mansfield Town Football Club.
James Tague will train at Mansfield and study at college for two years from July before he finds out if the club want to offer him a professional contract.
The 15-year-old, who is in Year 11 and taking his GCSEs, is a central midfielder who was on Derby County’s books until Christmas 2016.
During his time with the Rams he was also one of 30 boys selected for a series of England Under-15 training camps.
He has already attended an induction day at Mansfield Town, during which he had a look around and sat exam papers.
James said he was looking forward to proving himself at Mansfield.
He said: “I think this will be perfect for me. I was released by Derby after eight years because they didn’t think I was physically ready for their U18 squad but football is all about opinions. Of course I was disappointed but they developed me and made me into the player that I am today and for that I will always be grateful.
“It’s a bit of a waiting game now as I just have to take my exams and I’m going to try really hard to get good grades.
“Mansfield have offered me an EPPP scholarship which will work like an apprenticeship so I’ll be training and studying a sport or coaching related subject. It’s quite rare to be offered something like this so I’m really pleased. I’ve had a look around the accommodation as I’ll be living there Monday to Friday.
“My ultimate aim is to be offered a professional contract.”
Kevin Gritton, head teacher, congratulated James on being offered the scholarship.
He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for James who has clearly worked hard to be in this position. We wish him the best of luck, with his GCSEs and the scholarship.”