‘Outstanding’ Green could follow Shields into the Football League

Jack Green in action against Gosport Borough. Picture: Leigh Page

Jack Green in action against Gosport Borough. Picture: Leigh Page - Credit: Archant

Jack Green has already jumped five leagues and St Albans City joint manager James Gray believes he could go even higher.

The 17-year-old, who was playing for Sandridge Rovers in the Herts County League last season, was brilliant in Sunday’s surprise 2-1 win over play-off chasing Gosport Borough at Clarence Park. Green terrorised Borough’s right-back Lee Molyneaux as he showcased the pace, ability and nous that had Gray singing his praises after the game.

“He was a revelation. He could have done better defensively for their goal but he was only on the pitch for 20 seconds,” he said. “Once he was warm, they couldn’t live with him. The right back got send off because Jack made him look a fool.

“He’s got a long way to go – he’s only 17 – but to be able to do what he did to experienced Conference South defenders and scare the hell out of them…we don’t know where he could go. He could be the next one from St Albans City to [play in a higher league].”

Sean Shields was the last Saint to earn a Football League contract, joining Dagenham and Redbridge in 2013. Green showed the same skills that delighted Shields’ supporters for three years at Clarence Park. To summarise his impact on Sunday: his saved shot resulted in the corner that Lee Chappell, who quite brilliantly scored the first goal from a free-kick, sent in for Omar Beckles to prod home; Molyneaux was sent off for a horrendous challenge on him; and Mike Carter picked up a second booking for bringing down the tricky winger in injury time.

He almost didn’t feature at all, though. Gray said after the game that he and Graham Golds hadn’t planned to feature Green against fourth-placed Gosport but Locke’s injury, added to David Keenleyside’s thigh problem, meant they had little choice.

“We didn’t plan to use him but our hand was forced a bit, but we’re really pleased for him; he came in and took his chance,” said Gray. “If you look at academy players, there aren’t many who will be quicker and have his ability. He’s got a big, big future.”