Hendon hoping to earn pro deal at Jamie Vardy's V9 Academy

Will Hendon in action for Worthing this season. Picture by Stephen Goodger
Will Hendon in action for Worthing this season. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Will Hendon will be attempting to earn a professional football contract next month.

The Worthing full-back, 22, is one of 42 non-league footballers to have been offered a place at Jamie Vardy’s V9 Academy.

Will Hendon leads Worthing celebrations with the supporters. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Will Hendon leads Worthing celebrations with the supporters. Picture by Stephen Goodger

After seeing an advert in the Non-League Paper, Hendon decided to send his footballing CV to the Leicester City forwards pioneering Academy. A few weeks later, the talented right-back received new he’d earned a place.

The V9 Academy, which aims to spot non-league talent and promote them into the professional game - just as Vardy did - will take its first influx of players from June, 5 for a five-day residential programme.

Non-league playing hopefuls go to City Football Academy, the training complex of Manchester City, hoping to catch the eye of a host of professional club scouts, from both Britain and abroad, aiming to find the next Vardy.

Hendon, who was released by Brighton & Hove Albion at the age of 16, feels this provides him with a great chance to earn a deal at a professional club and said: “It’s going to be a great experience for me and the aim will be to earn a deal.

Will Hendon will be looking to earn a professional contract along with 42 other non-league footballers at Jamie Vardy's V9 Academy. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Will Hendon will be looking to earn a professional contract along with 42 other non-league footballers at Jamie Vardy's V9 Academy. Picture by Stephen Goodger

"I’ll be keeping myself in the best shape possible between now and June, making sure I’m ready for the five-day camp.

“We’re going to be training everyday and we’ll be playing a couple of matches, so it’s a great chance for myself and the other players’ picked to showcase their ability.”

Hendon’s former Worthing team-mate Omar Bugiel earned himself a professional deal after joining National League outfit Forest Green Rovers back in February. Mickey Demetriou, who began his career at Woodside Road, is currently at Newport County in League 2, with Hendon hoping he can follow in their footsteps.

He added: “Everyone at the club felt Omar deserved to get the move he did into the professional game. As his team-mates, we’d seen the work he’d put in and how he was performing week-in, week-out for us.

“I was close with him and we still speak a lot. What his move did do for myself and the other players at Worthing was show that if you are willing to work hard, show what ability you have, then anything is possible.”

The 22-year-old has been a ever-present for Worthing after being handed his first-team break by Adam Hinshelwood three seasons ago. Hendon has gone onto represent the club over 150 times since then and, should his stint at the V9 Academy not go how’d he like it to, Hendon hopes for a Worthing return next season.

He said: “I haven’t signed a contract with the club just yet, I’ve agreed with Gary Elphick (Worthing manager) that we’ll chat after my time at Vardy’s Academy.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time at Worthing and would love to return, it’s just a case of waiting and seeing how this goes. Adam Hinshelwood, John Meeney and Gary have helped me a great deal and I’ve got so much to thank them for.”

Vardy is expected to be in attendance over the course of the five days, while Sky Sports will be filming a ‘behind the scenes’ documentary. The Sky cameras were at Woodside Road last month to film Hendon during Worthing’s clash against AFC Sudbury in the Ryman League Premier Division.

The full-back feels a chance to meet Vardy, as well as appearing on Sky, will be another fantastic experience.

Hendon added: “I believe Jamie (Vardy) will be at the Academy watching on some of the days. It’s going to be filmed for a Sky Sports documentary, so it’s going to have great publicity.

“At this stage of my career it’s just about trying to play at the highest level I can and hopefully this five-day camp goes well for me.”

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