Tom Walker has been certainly making a name for himself as part of an impressive Salford City side this season, and his success has an extra special meaning for him.
That is because 22-year-old Walker was born, and still lives, here in Salford, just around the corner from the club’s Peninsula Stadium in Kersal.
Midfielder Walker joined Salford in January 2018 from local rivals FC United of Manchester and has made 14 league appearances this season, netting five goals.
One of the most recent of those goals was a 96th minute equaliser in his side’s remarkable late 4-4 comeback against Kidderminster Harriers at the end of March.
“It’s probably up there as one of the best feelings I’d had on a football pitch” he said.
Walker started his football career around the age of five or six, starting out with local youth football outfit Deans Sports.
Spotted at a young age by talent scouts from Bolton Wanderers, Walker went on to have a successful trial with the Greater Manchester club and was signed up to their academy aged eight or nine.
Walker progressed through Bolton’s academy ranks and, under the management of former Celtic manager Neil Lennon, was handed his first team chance in the 2014-15 season.
He would go on to make 11 appearances before the end of the season, and scored one goal, signing his first professional contract in May 2015.
Walker made several more appearances the following season, but could not prevent Bolton from being relegated to League One at the end of the season.
He spent the 2016-17 season out on loan to nearby Bury and made 15 appearances in all competitions for the team, but was released by manager Phil Parkinson upon his return to Bolton.
Walker described being released as “no real surprise” but it did leave him wondering where to turn to in order to keep playing.
Several trials at Stockport County lead to him being offered a short-term deal, after which FC United gave him a chance to reignite his career.
A run of impressive performances led to his hometown club Salford City come calling, and Walker has excelled for the Ammies – who sit top of the National League North table – since joining in January.