Ryan Wintle: Crewe debutant thanks former non-league club
Crewe Alexandra midfielder Ryan Wintle says he would not have been able to make his professional debut without the help of his former club Alsager Town.
Wintle, 18, came on as 75th-minute substitute in Crewe's 2-0 defeat by Bradford City on Saturday, 10 months after arriving at Gresty Road from non-league football.
"I thought I would make my debut at some point this season," Wintle said.
"I got the ball, calmed myself down and dealt with the nerves."
In less than a year Wintle has gone from being a substitute in front of a few hundred supporters at Alsager, who play in the ninth tier of English football, to coming off the bench to play in front of more than 17,000 people at Valley Parade.
"I just got my chance at Alsager, got some starts and scored some goals. Someone from Crewe came to watch me and asked me to come for a trial," Wintle told BBC Radio Stoke.
"I thought one day I could make my debut and I was gobsmacked when I was involved this pre-season."
After making his breakthrough, Wintle is thankful for the belief that his chairman at Alsager, Terry Greer, gave him when he was coming through the semi-professional ranks.
"He brought me into the team because he wanted me to progress and do well," added Wintle. "I can't thank him enough because, without him, I wouldn't be here now."