Former Dulwich Hamlet defender Ethan Pinnock joined Brentford in a £3million deal on Tuesday – with Gavin Rose confident the South Londoner could one day ply his trade in the Premier League.
Pinnock was released by Millwall as a youngster and spent a year out of the game before joining Hamlet, writes Richard Cawley.
His older brother Sol – a striker in Dulwich’s first-team – recommended him to manager Rose.
The centre-back, 26, went on to thrive at Champion Hill before joining Forest Green Rovers, then in the National League, in 2016.
The following summer he signed for Barnsley for a rumoured sum of £500,000.
Now comes a return to the capital for Pinnock with the Bees, who have handed him at least a three-year contract.
Rose said: “He had about two or three years on the spin of doing well for us and a few clubs asked about him going on trial. But in my opinion he had gone past that – no matter what the level – and should just be offered a deal.
“I told him and his family that. They trusted what I said. Forest Green were in non-league but had good financial backing, they wanted to be successful and he was going to play. It was brilliant for him – they got promoted and he has gone from strength to strength.
“I’m not surprised he has gone to Brentford. He has got some unbelievable physical attributes. He doesn’t carry any fat, he is left-footed, is brilliant in the air and defends diligently.
“He had so many of those attributes when he was with us. He doesn’t get overawed. He’s very level – on a good day or a bad day – and rises to a challenge, he never shirks it.
“When you have got those characteristics and can be improved at each club by being in and around better players, learning from good coaches, then I can’t see any reason he can’t keep building.
“First he needs to prove to the players around him what he can do, to earn the right to be around them. That doesn’t happen overnight, maybe even a few years.
“But I don’t see any reason [he can’t play in the Premier League.”