Glenn Kirkwood was never in doubt that giant central defender Max Hunt would make it into the Football League.
The 18 year old, standing at 6’6” tall has been snapped up by Derby County who stole a march on rival clubs to sign him for an undisclosed fee from Matlock Town.
Hunt, a product of Matlock Town’s academy set up, only made his full league debut for the Gladiators in their 2-1 win at Lancaster City on December 2 having been loaned out to Belper Town earlier in the campaign and also having trials at Premier League side West Bromwich Albion.
“We could see he was destined for greater things during the pre-season when he came on no end,” said Kirkwood.
“We’ve never seen such a level headed lad, he’s known about a deal for a long time but still trained hard and he’s immensely popular with our lads and everyone at the club.
“We’re really chuffed, delighted for him, he’s got maturity beyond his years, he’s a cracking lad. We know he’ll carry on working hard and we hope to be able to see him on Match of The Day.”
Kirkwood also paid tribute to staff in the academy who have played an integral part in Hunt’s progression up the football ladder.
“Max’s development is testimony to the work of everyone involved in the academy, the likes of Jamie Yates, Steve Heath, Justin Tellus and Carl Vickers deserve immense praise,” he added.
Hunt himself post on the Matlock Town Twitter account: “Thank you very much, will struggle to put into words how much I have enjoyed my time at this club and everything you have done for me.”