By Matt Bishop
He has just been crowned the EFL’s Young Player of the Month for August, but young Hull City starlet Jarrod Bowen is not in a hurry to forget where he’s come from.
The 20-year-old, who came through the ranks at Hereford United, took just 62 minutes to score on his Championship debut this season when he found the net against Aston Villa at Villa Park – and he has added four more strikes to his haul since then.
It is a stunning start to life in England’s second-tier for Bowen, but the promising striker isn’t new to first-team football, and he’s been praising the benefits of Non-League; the place he began his blossoming career.
“I think being in a men’s environment at such a young age has stood me in good stead,” he told BBC Sport. “It’s all about confidence and playing against men from a young age was beneficial.”
Bowen was just 17-years-old when he was thrown into a National League relegation battle with Hereford in 2014.
The teenager’s first goal for the Bulls earned them a precious win over Alfreton, and the club went on to avoid the drop from Non-League’s top tier with a late victory at Aldershot seven days later.
However, Bowen had to leave his boyhood club that summer because of their dire financial situation, and joined then Premier League side Hull City. Six months later, the Bulls were wound up.
Despite Hereford’s heartbreaking fall, Bowen’s journey is a brilliant success story, and the forward believes more EFL clubs should take a punt on Non-League stars like him.
He said: “The talent is there but it’s about finding the players. Arsenal signed a player from Hednesford [Cohen Bramall] recently and you can see Jamie Vardy has set up his own academy to help that.
“I was at little old Hereford so when a Premier League team came in it was delightful really.
“My manager at Hereford [Peter Beadle] knew Tony Pennock here [at Hull]. Everyone knows everyone in football and thankfully it’s worked out well for me.”
By Matt Bishop