Hard works pays off for leader Liddiard
MATT Liddiard has bounced back from the disappointment of being released by Cheltenham Town at the age of 16.
The Hong Kong-born central midfielder has benefited from full-time training at Hartpury College, who he helped win the Under-18s national title on Wednesday.
He combines his midweek appearances for Hartpury with Blue Square Bet North club Gloucester City.
Having completed the first year of his degree course, he will move into Steve Guinan's senior squad next year.
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Liddiard was told by Cheltenham he was not strong enough to take up a scholarship, but he has worked hard to develop that side of his game at Hartpury.
"I started in the third team at Hartpury, but I have progressed to the academy team and it's been a good year for me," Liddiard said.
"I have been a designated team leader along with our captain Lewis Hilton and Ryan Thwaite and I think the other players look up to us."
Liddiard scored six goals for Hartpury last season and was named man of the match as coach Paul Tassell's team defeated Monkseaton 5-0 at Boreham Wood to make it three national titles in a row and four in five years.
Hartpury have established themselves as the leading further education college and the senior side has also dominated the British Universities and Colleges Cup in recent years, winning three national titles, including a final victory over Edinburgh at Sheffield United in 2011.
The senior academy is made up of players enrolled on any Higher education programme at UWE Hartpury. There are three teams that play at senior level, with the first team made up of players able to compete at the highest level of university football, the BUCS Premier League.