Jamie Vardy believes he has discovered the next big thing from football’s non-League scrapheap.
His set-up showcased 42 hopefuls in front of 60 scouts at Manchester City academy’s first team campus.
It has led to striker Danny Newton clinching a contract on Monday at League Two Stevenage.
The 26-year-old was out of contract at Conference North side Tamworth, where he scored 34 goals last season.
Newton, nicknamed ‘The Wasp’, has been working in a factory in Leicester as he juggled work with part-time football. But now he has landed his first ever professional contract as he bids to follow in the footsteps of Vardy, who set-up his academy with his agent John Morris.
Vardy, who was released by Sheffield Wednesday as a teenager, said: “When John told me that Danny had received an offer from Stevenage, I was buzzing.
“He was one of the first players that we recruited to the academy and he seems to have had a similar journey to myself.”
Vardy fired Leicester to the Premier League title in 2016 with 24 goals after being signed in 2012 having grafted his way up Non-league via Stocksbridge Park Steels, Halifax and Fleetwood.
Five other players from his academy this summer have been invited to join professional clubs for pre-season after impressing at the five-day trial with V9.
Morris said: “The academy has proved that there are league players within the non-leagues.
“Danny is a great example that it is never too late to fulfil your dream of being a professional footballer.
“We are sure more V9 Academy hopefuls will follow Danny’s footsteps into professional football.
“The academy has put the players firmly in the shop window and given them a fantastic learning experience which will undoubtedly benefit their future careers.
“The players were excellent throughout the week and deserve to be given an opportunity in the professional game.”
The hopefuls were split into three teams of 14 players and worked with coaches such as Chris Ramsey, Alan Stubbs and Robbie Stockdale.
They had guest lectures from Norwich sporting director Stuart Webber, sport psychologist Professor Jim McKenna and a masterclass with Manchester United Champions League winner Rene Meulensteen.