BRIAN Jensen believes setting up an academy in East Lancashire is a chance for him to give something back to an area that has treated him so well.

The former Burnley ‘keeper spent 10 memorable years at Turf Moor between 2003 and 2013.

Now Bury’s goalkeeping coach, the giant Dane affectionately known as ‘The Beast’ has launched the Lancashire Regional Talent Centre which will be based at Accrington College.

After similar success with his first venture near his current home in Congleton, Jensen is looking forward to trying to spot stars of the future in the Red Rose county.

The new centre will play in the Junior Premier League set up by Manchester United assistant boss Mike Phelan in 2011 and is pitched as players who have outgrown the grassroots game and could find their way into semi-professional or professional clubs.

“We did it last year in South Cheshire in Congleton where I’m based now,” said Jensen.

“We thought it would be a great idea to go on to Lancashire with me being up there for 10 years.

“I loved it up there and I would love to give a little bit back to the community.

“It could be someone from grassroots football or someone who’s been released from an academy who gets involved.

“The standard is higher than grassroots but there will be players good enough to be involved and get that proper coaching and development.

“It’s about giving them the best chance.”

Jensen sees the new centre as helping talented youngsters in the area get a helping hand and giving them an opportunity to have a career in the game.

“No disrespect to grassroots football but they don’t have the finance and the budget,” said the 44-year-old.

“It’s a lot of volunteer dads who go in and do a bit of coaching just trying to help the teams out.

“They don’t have the equipment to really coach and develop the boys or girls.

“The JPL was created so the gap isn’t too big, to have a development league in between.

“Later on when they are older then they can have a career whether it’s semi-pro or maybe a scholarship or whatever.

“We think there’s a lot of kids out there being neglected for different reasons.”

The former Clarets ‘keeper, who made 311 appearances for the club during his decade at Turf Moor, has first-hand experience of how tough it can be for emerging


His younger son Sebastian is a goalkeeper for Everton’s Under-13s while elder son Jamie is part of the Under-16s at his South Cheshire academy.

“We can see as coaches and with my two boys as well, seeing them coming through grassroots football and into academies, it’s tough, it’s really, really tough,” he said.

“It’s too big a gap. I really buy into the idea of helping close that.

“We had a few successes down in South Cheshire with a few of the boys that have gone into academy and had trials there.

“Some have succeeded and some haven’t but at least we’re giving them the platform.”

Jensen is working on the project with Michael Worthington.

There will be teams ranging from Under-11s to Under-16s while a pre-academy centre for players from Under-7s to Under-10s will also run.

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