By Daniel Prince
Two former members of South Shields’ successful Under-18s side will come up against each other at the Stadium of Light tonight.
Dan Ward, of Newcastle United, and David Lowrie, of Sunderland, will play in the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup.
Dan was playing for Shields as recently as last season before being spotted by Newcastle, and he has made major strides since joining the Premier League club on a scholarship following a successful trial.
David, meanwhile, was part of Kevin Bolam’s side from a young age before joining Sunderland’s academy, and would have been part of South Shields FC had he not taken the academy route earlier.
Most of Shields’ Under-18s side, who have played with Dan and David for most of their young careers, are set to attend tonight’s game at the Stadium of Light.
Bolam said: “Most of my current Under-18s are going along tonight to support the boys in what will be a special night for them both.
“He has always played in midfield, but used to think he was a forward like his older brother Jack. In training he actually tried to copy his other brother Sam in goal!
“Dan is technically very good, and has an excellent engine, with a very good football brain to go with it.
“He is a very humble kid and shows a willingness to learn every day. He also stays in touch with me and the lads, and was actually at the game on Saturday supporting his mates in their friendly with the first team.”
Dan is pictured below with his South Shields team-mates last season after winning the County Cup. He is third from left in the front row.
On David, Bolam added: “David was with me from the age of six, and started as a little centre forward who showed great pace and desire.
“As mentioned, he is very quick, strong and shows fantastic desire to defend.
“David also shows good ability on the ball and distributes long and short very well.
“David is a super kid who keeps his feet on the ground and will be a big asset to Sunderland tonight.”
Bolam continued: “We are all proud of the two kids, who will be enemies tonight but mates straight after the game again, and no doubt there will be some banter flying about before and after.
“South Shields FC should be proud of these two lads, both local lads who will do their clubs proud.
“Special mention also to Lee Hetherington, who is enjoying a successful first year scholarship at Middlesbrough FC and is another former South Shields FC player.
“Another local boy, Dan Wright, will also be playing for Sunderland tonight.
“Dan used to play for one of our rivals, but they are all lads who know each other and played with and against each other since being six and seven years of age. Dan is an England international at Under-17s level.
” So best of luck to all the lads, and we wish them all well in their futures ahead.”
*Pictures of Dan Ward in Newcastle kit courtesy of NUFC*
You can also read Dan Ward’s thoughts ahead of the game on Newcastle’s website: Ward Hoping To Continue Fairytale Journey