Charlton’s U23s have two new additions to their ranks with Hady Ghandour and Lucas Ness signing for the club following successful trials at the end of last season.
20-year-old forward Ghandour joins from non-League Tooting and Mitcham where he has been a regular starter and goalscorer over the past two seasons, winning their Player of the Year award for 2019/20.
18-year-old defender Ness, meanwhile, comes from Met Police where he was a regular starter in men’s football in the BetVictor Southern Premier division.
Ghandour played a number of games on trial for Jason Euell’s young Addicks before last season was brought to a premature end and is keen to hit the ground running in the new season.
“It feels great to be here,” said the striker, who is of Lebanese descent.
“It’s a club with a great history, I’ve worked hard to get here so hopefully I can kick on and make myself heard.
“I’ve been used to playing men’s football which is all about the three points. It toughens you up. I’ve been on the end of some tough tackles but it makes you into a man so I’m grateful for it and I can take that experience into my development at Charlton.”
When asked what he will bring to Euell’s young side, Ghandour explained: “Every striker loves to say that they can bring goals so, hopefully, I’ll bring goals!
“Whether I’m running in behind or having the ball come to my feet I don’t really mind. I’ll work hard for the team.”
Fellow arrival Ness also impressed for the young Addicks towards the end of last term to earn himself a deal at The Valley and is grateful to be given the opportunity.
“It’s good to have faith from the club and, hopefully, I can follow it up, do what they want me to do and eventually push into the first team,” he explained.
“I like to think I’m quick. I’m big, I know how to defend and I can read the game well. Hopefully I can chip in with a goal or two as well!”
Speaking about the example of other Charlton academy starlets who have made their mark in Lee Bowyer’s senior side, Ness said: “It’s very inspirational. I’m playing here with the U23s and I can name half a dozen of the players who have played for the first team, it’s very inspirational to know that there is a pathway and that’s great. Hopefully I can follow that pathway.”
Academy Manager Steve Avory was quick to praise the duo on their hard work in earning am opportunity with the Addicks
“What I can say about the lads is that they are evidence of good players still out there playing semi-professional football, young players who have persisted with the determination to achieve their dream of becoming a professional footballer.
“Lucas, who was playing senior football for Met Police at 18 at a good standard and Hady Ghandour was the same at Tooting and Mitcham. Hady had been with us before and we didn’t take him then, but we have just monitored his progress at that level.
“So, both lads are evidence that there are players that are still out there going through this developmental age from around 18-21.
“The tempo and technicality of our training would have been different to what they are both used to. But both lads appreciate that they have lots of work to do both in that respect as well as their tactical understanding of the game at this level.
“I certainly think that both players would have benefited from their previous experiences in non-League men’s football, there’s no doubt about that.”