Simon Hart: What can Glenn Hoddle bring to the FA Taskforce? Ask Sam Clucas

Life Beyond the Premier League: Glenn built up your confidence and worked on your weaknesses to get you back in the game

Anybody wondering just what Glenn Hoddle can bring to Greg Dyke's FA Commission should have a word with a young Mansfield Town footballer called Sam Clucas.

The 23-year-old wrote one of the stories of the FA Cup first round last weekend with four goals in the space of 16 minutes in an 8-1 win at non-league St Albans City. Clucas had never struck a senior hat-trick before, but then he had never scored a goal in the Football League either until joining Mansfield from Hereford United in the summer and is already their leading scorer with five in League Two.

Rejected by Leicester City and Lincoln City as a teenager, he is making up for lost time – and all thanks to a spell at Hoddle's former academy in southern Spain. "Glenn was all about building your confidence and working on your weaknesses and trying to get you back into the game," says Clucas.

In his case that meant "working on my [weaker] right foot" among other things, and the consequence of just over a year of Hoddle's tutelage was a transfer to Hereford two years ago this week.

During a five-year period up to 2012, Hoddle practised what he regularly preaches by offering a second opportunity for young players otherwise bound for the scrapheap.

The former England and Tottenham manager has lamented the premature judgement passed by clubs on teenagers and Clucas's story provides a case in point. "Clubs were releasing players too early in his mind, and before they'd had a chance to fully develop," Clucas says. "That was my problem: people develop at different times and as soon as I got released [after six years at Leicester], I grew to about 6ft in a year. That is what Glenn was focusing on and he wanted to get hold of us, nurture us and get the full potential out of us."

Clucas actually went back to college between the age of 16 and 18 – spending his Saturdays working at Debenhams – before a year at Lincoln led to another rejection in 2010 after just one first-team outing. Only then did serendipity finally smile on him.

Chris Fagan, a Lincoln team-mate, had graduated from Hoddle's academy and provided an introduction. "I spoke to Craig and he rang Glenn Hoddle and put in a word for me," recalls Clucas.

That brought the opportunity to not just train every day under Hoddle and his coaches Graham Rix and Dave Beasant, but also to play for Jerez Industrial, the local club with which Hoddle developed a link. "It was equivalent to the Conference or League Two. Playing games every week in front of fans was a good experience, especially a more technical game that suits me down to the ground."

Clucas was not the only beneficiary. From his own intake, he cites Jordan Hugill and Ben Williamson, now at Port Vale, and Ryan Burge at Newport. The biggest success story, Watford's Ikechi Anya, scored his first international goal for Scotland in September. Christian Mouritsen, another who passed through the academy, played for the Faroe Islands against Germany on the same night.

According to Mansfield's manager Paul Cox, Clucas – who plays on the wing or as a second striker – has the potential to step up to Championship level. The man himself, though, is just savouring the present. "Loads of people I know got released because they were too small and gave up football. When I was at college, I always wanted to get back in football but it is so hard. I was fortunate to get the break, and now I'm in it, I relish every minute."

Sport
footballLIVE City face Stoke, while Warnock returns to Palace dugout
Arts and Entertainment
books
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone