Stretton joins Carlisle United on loan

Derby County forward Jack Stretton has joined League Two club Carlisle United on a season-long loan.

The 20-year-old came through the academy at the Rams and the club is hoping their promising youngster can gain valuable first team minutes in professional football.

Stretton will link up with former Derby man Paul Simpson, manager of Carlisle United. Simpson played for the Rams in the 90’s and returned as assistant manager to Steve McClaren in 2013, he left the club in 2015.

Simpson expressed his delight at the signing on Carlisle’s website.

“He’s another who has real potential and Derby are looking for him to take that next step”, said Simpson.

“He was on the bench for their first-team last week, for their opening game, but they’ve brought another forward in which has allowed this to happen.

“He’s really looking forward to the challenge of trying to work his way into our team, and both him and Jayden know they’re coming into a group that’s done really well over pre-season. Anybody coming into that is going to have to work hard to get into the team.

“His time at Stockport will stand him in good stead. That was the opportunity to go and play men’s football on a regular basis.

“He did that, he scored goals, and this is the next step for him. It puts him in a different environment at a different football club and, being horrible about it, at a different level to what he’s used to.

“He’ll have to learn a different side to things because it’s not all as fantastic as it is at Derby County with their training ground and facilities.

“He seems a really good personality, a good character, and I’ve had some really good references about him. I’m looking forward to seeing how he works with us and to getting him out on the grass.

“Let’s see what he can do and if he can get into positions where he can finish off the chances we create.”

Jack Stretton started to make a name for himself whilst in the Derby academy. The striker was a huge part of the u18 team that won the Premier League in the 2018/19. Stretton scored 10 goals and laid on 2 assists in just 13 appearances for the u18’s.

He would enjoy another successful season in the youth team the next season. Following Derby’s u18 Premier League win the previous season, the club qualified for the UEFA Youth League and Stretton would continue his impressive goal scoring record in Europe. In 6 appearances he scored 4 goals and laid on 1 assist. He also improved upon his record from the previous u18 season. In the 2019/20 season, Stretton scored 12 goals and laid on 1 assist for the u18’s.

In the 20/21 season, many more opportunities would come Stretton’s way. He was promoted to u23’s squad from the u18’s and he would once again score goals. He scored 8 goals in 10 Premier League 2 matches.

Stretton would also experience his first spell in professional football at Derby as well as a loan spell elsewhere. The forward was named on the bench of the Rams first team for the first time in November 2020, Derby lost the match 3-0 and this turned out to be Wayne Rooney’s last game in professional football. Stretton’s first appearance would come in the following game on the 28th November 2020. He came on as a late substitute in a 1-1 draw at home to Wycombe Wanderers.

In March 2021, Stretton joined National League side Stockport County on a short-term loan deal. He scored on his debut for the club on the 9th March 2021, the goal came in a 5-0 away win against Solihull Moors. Stretton scored 3 goals in 5 matches for the non-league side before being recalled by Derby.

Last season Stretton scored his first and only goal for Derby to date. This came in the second game of the season away at Peterborough United, Stretton put the Rams 1-0 ahead but the hosts scored 2 goals in stoppage time and won the match 2-1. He would go on to make 9 appearances for the first team last season.

This loan spell at Carlisle is exactly what Derby and Stretton, the chance for him to play professional football on a consistent basis. The Rams may have loaned him out last season but transfer embargoes and administration made a loan away from the club almost impossible.

Stretton could make his debut for the Cumbrians away at Colchester United tomorrow. Carlisle started the 22/23 League Two season with a 1-0 win at home to Crawley Town last week.