Date: 10th May 2011 at 1:56pm
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The cream of the academy crop have committed their futures to Crewe Alexandra this week after signing professional terms.

Nick Powell and defender George Ray have signed three year deals to keep them with the club till 2014 whilst Max Clayton will join them once he turns 17 in August. Goalkeeper Ben Garratt and winger Brendan Daniels have signed two year deals.

The news will come as no surprise with the five of them all signing onto newly designed scholarships last summer that meant they assured of a professional deal once they turned 17.

With Powell, Clayton and Garratt all out in Serbia with England U-17s, competing in the UEFA U-17 Championships, todays news is just further evidence that the academy is as strong as ever despite the club’s fall from grace in the league.

Academy Director Neil Critchley told the official website that the faith shown in the younger players by the club sends out strong signals to the even younger age groups.

‘It is terrific for the club. We are taking more of our younger players all the time, and I think that sends out a great signal to all the players in our academy that you will get an opportunity at this football club if you are good enough.

‘I know a lot of the younger players see the boys away with England and think that they can do that which is fantastic for the whole academy.’