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Finley Bell: ‘He’s one of our own’

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Homegrown Finley Bell is celebrating his first professional deal at Foret Green.

Bell,17, a former Sir William Romney’s schoolboy, joins three of Rovers’ academy scarlets who have put pen-to-paper on their first professional contracts with the club.

Bell, Jack Carter and Murphy Bennett all impressed during their scholarship at The Bolt New Lawn – so have committed their immediate future with FGR and link up with Ian Burchnall’s squad for the League One season.

Bell has become part of the academy since grassroots level – and becomes the first player developed in the academy from the Stroud District to sign a professional contract. The Bell family are season-ticket holders at the club, with Finley’s younger brother Fraser, 14, plays for the U16s.

Carter became a scholar on Another Way back in 2021. He made his senior debut for FGR in the Papa John’s Trophy tie with West Bromwich Albion U21s back in 2020 – and has continued to feature in the competition for Rovers since.

Bennett started his career with Manchester City before becoming a first-year scholar with Rovers last season. The 17-year-old’s development in Nailsworth has seen the young defender become a regular in the Wales U18 squad – and recently captained the side during a summer tour.

fgr composite | Finley Bell: 'He's one of our own'
Finley Bell, Jack Carter and Murphy Bennett

Burchnall, Head Coach, said: “We’re excited to welcome Finley, Jack and Murphy into the first-team squad. They have been in and around the team recently and have kicked on and impressed.

“We want to provide a pathway to the first team – and their work-rate and attitude has been a testament to the work of our academy.”

Hannah Dingley, Head of Academy, said: “All three of the lads have worked so incredibly hard to reach this point. From making appearances in the EFL Trophy to playing for Wales on an international stage, they come such a long way and we are all incredibly proud of them.

“It’s all about creating a clear pathway into a first-team environment – and their hard work has earned them that opportunity.”

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