AIREDALE Hockey Club coach Richard Stewart sensed there was "something special" about Matthew Ramshaw from an early age.

The Bradley teenager, who first learned to play the game with the Keighley club, is the youngest player called up for the new Great Britain under-23 development squad.

And the 18-year-old's efforts have been further recognised with the award of the 2017 Hockey Writers Club National Youth Award, which he will receive at a special ceremony in Knightsbridge next Wednesday.

Stewart said: "I'm absolutely thrilled for Matthew. I knew when he was eight or nine years old there was something special about him. He was a different type of player.

"I'm a level three qualified coach and have coached Yorkshire senior squad and junior internationals in the past so I've probably coached a dozen or so players who have gone to play for England or Great Britain.

"You kind of knew from an early stage with each of them that there was something different about them – not necessarily their ability but their energy and the way they practised, and the way they approached the game.

"He certainly fits that category and could make it all the way."

In being chosen for the national youth award, Ramshaw – who has also played for Ben Rhydding – follows in the footsteps of big-name players Ashley Jackson and Maddie Hinch.

His involvement at community level was a contributing factor as well as his performances on the pitch, with the England under-18 international linking up with his old club Airedale whenever possible.

He played in the festive inter-club friendly and Stewart said: "It is great to see Matthew coming back to his roots and inspiring youngsters at our club.

"He always comes down when home from school and the club has a number of youngsters who are keen to follow in his footsteps.

"He was instrumental in our under-12 team who got to a national final back in 2012.

"Most of those players are still playing for the club and it's great to see them back together. Matthew still feels part of Airedale and part of the town and it would be great achievement for the club if we could get him into full international honours."

That pre-Christmas match took place at Sir Titus Salt School in Baildon, which has been Airedale's home for the last two seasons following the new building project at Oakbank School, where they had been based for more than a decade.

The club have lost a significant number of players due to the extra travelling but have plans to return to Keighley to new facilities at Holy Family School and Oakbank at some stage.

In partnership with Airedale and SportKeighley, Holy Family have applied for planning permission to install a new all-weather hockey pitch together with a two-storey clubhouse.

The club are keen to recruit new players, with seniors training on Thursdays at Salts and juniors at Beckfoot on Wednesdays.

For more details, contact Stewart on 07748-299720.