Jack Stretton has wasted no time settling in at his new club Stockport County after finding the net on his debut just one day after signing on loan for the National League outfit.

It was announced on Monday that the 19-year-old striker had signed an initial one month loan deal with the Hatters, accompanied by fellow youngster Nathan Shaw who made the switch from Blackpool.

Unlike the Seasiders’ loanee, Stretton made the squad for Stockport’s away encounter with Solihull Moors on Tuesday evening as manager Simon Rusk named him on the bench. 

It was the teenager’s first taste of senior football since the Rams’ 2-0 victory over Swansea City back in December; he featured for the final few minutes as a substitute against the Swans.

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Stretton, who has two caps for Scotland U19s despite being born and raised in England, sustained a groin injury at the tail end of 2020 which kept him out of action until late February.

His return from injury was a 45 minute spell for Derby U23s during a 0-0 draw with West Ham, his next appearance would be his debut for the Greater Manchester outfit. 

Taking the place of Chorley loanee Harry Cardwell in the 69th minute, the Hatters already 4-0 up at this point, it took Stretton just over ten minutes to grab his first goal in senior football.

Elliot Newby, another on loan from Chorley, saw his effort deflect towards the debutant who finished confidently to round off a fantastic five for the visitors.

Unsurprisingly, there is a lot of hype surrounding Stretton and the player he could perhaps become at Derby, especially as he offers something different to the Rams’ current crop of strikers; Colin Kazim-Richards, Lee Gregory and Martyn Waghorn. 

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Kazim-Richards recently signed a new deal until the end of the 2021/22 season, but with Waghorn’s contract set to expire and Gregory’s loan deal up in the summer, could Stretton potentially have a breakthrough campaign in the works at Pride Park?

It is certainly worth keeping a close eye on the young forward during his venture in the fifth tier of English football, his time with Stockport could well be a vital stage of his development.

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