By Matt Farr
Former Hednesford Town manager Liam McDonald believes new Arsenal signing Cohen Bramall can follow in the footsteps of Jamie Vardy.
Bramall became Arsenal’s surprise first January signing, moving to the Emirates Stadium from non-league Hednesford for £40,000.
McDonald, who managed Bramall at Hednesford before he became manager at Solihull Moors, believes the youngster can have a similar impact in the Premier League that Leicester’s Vardy did last season.
The England striker fired the Foxes to an unlikely title triumph, netting 24 goals from 38 appearances in all competitions. He also came from a non-league background, signing from Fleetwood Town in 2012.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, McDonald insists that Bramall would be able to handle the massive jump from Hednesford to Arsenal.
“He’s a natural athlete and he’s got a great opportunity to develop that now,” he said.
“From training at Hednesford to then going to training with the first-team at Arsenal is a massive step, but it is one that he will take in his stride.
“You look at the likes of Jamie Vardy, players that have played in non-league. I’m very positive that Cohen will go and have a similar impact.
“I think he’s just unique in what he’s got.”
Wales international Ashley Williams was also on the books of Hednesford Town, back in 2001, and has since established himself as a top Premier League and international defender.
Bramall, a 20-year-old left-back, is not likely to feature in Arsenal’s first-team just yet, considering the presence of Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs.
But the player has clearly done enough in training to show Arsene Wenger that he can have a future role to play for the Gunners, hence his surprise deal.
Arsenal take on Preston in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.
In other Arsenal news, fans took to Twitter to praise and congratulate Alex Iwobi for winning this award.