Nathan Woodthorpe has had quite the career and he is still only 22 years of age.

From spending 12 years at Crewe Alexandra, to multiple operations and now playing consistently in Step 2 and co-running a highly successful children’s coaching company.

He comes from a footballing background, with his dad Colin playing hundreds of games, including an Fa Cup Semi Final and multiple games in Europe.

Woodthorpe spoke to Semi Professional about how he got into football and initially got scouted

“Obviously I started young with my dad playing, so that helped me and gave me a bit of advantage, so I understood the game very well when I was young and I started playing locally when I was six or seven and I think I got scouted around eight,” he said.

“I went to a few different clubs and then ended up at Crewe. From there it has just sort of taken off a bit.” 

Speaking to Nathan, he admitted he has a lot of love for Crewe, having spent so many years there, and sees it as no surprise that they are one of the best academies in the World. 

“At Crewe, they are trying to mould you, but it isn’t relentless, it is a good steady pace at Crewe which works well when you are at a young age and this is obviously why they are one of the best academies in the world.” 

Moving onto academy football, it may be a little known fact, but it is of his opinion that big Premier League academies only focus on certain players, a key piece of information that they hide from other prospects within their system. 

“It is easy for me to sit here and say I am glad I ended up at Crewe because that is how it turned out but obviously everyone wanted to play in the Premier League at the time.

“However, when you look at Premier League academies how many of them actually make it? It is usually just a team around one player that is definitely going to make it. Take Mason Greenwood, he was the only one that was ever going to make it so they built a team around him. 

“They definitely provide filler positions for the players they are actually focussing on. I would say maybe from 12-15 they will have a few players that they are weighing up but when it gets to that under 18s, they already know.

“However, obviously if they tell people that then no one is going to want to go. Greenwood barely played any under 23s football really, I played against Bellingham at under 18s and I think he is two years younger than me and he completely skipped the under 23s and went straight into the first team. These are the ones that make it.” 

After battling through a terrible injury which he labelled as “mentally draining”, Nathan is battling back and having returned from a successful loan at Marine, he has gone a long way to establishing himself in Chester’s first eleven.

Having had his contract option taken up, he is now looking forward to next season and his future goals. 

“So when I actually started playing again, I set myself a goal of getting back to the EFL by the 2025/26 season which is obviously the season after this coming one.

“Whether that happens who knows but I think it is always good to set those kinds of goals just to have a look at and try to achieve.”

“I said last season was the biggest season of my career, getting myself back fit and back playing but now this season is the biggest season of my career because it is my chance to play at a massive club, week in week out and complete the main aim which is promotion.

“For me, it’s a case of whatever happens after that happens but I still have that fire in my belly to play in the EFL.” 

As well as his endeavours for Chester, Nathan also runs a coaching company alongside fellow Chester player Ollie Heywood and it is something that has truly taken off recently, beyond any of his expectations. 

“When I was injured, I did my Uefa B licence, and because I was going through injuries I had to look at another option, whether that was working or something else and I came to the conclusion that I wanted to coach, I come from that background anyway so it made sense.

“In the summer that I signed for Chester, me and Ollie Heywood started chatting and we sort of just said why not have a go at it and help people out. It was something that was limited in the area so we just thought let’s jump at it. 

“At the start we thought it would be a case of making an extra £50 a week to pay petrol because you know what the money is like in non league with having to work as well.

“It has taken off massively and still allows me to think in that pro mindset, because I still wanted to train like a pro.” 

The motivation still burns deep for Nathan, even with all the injury problems that he has encountered and that will be sure to help him moving forward as we look towards the new National League North Season.

It will be no doubt interesting to see how his career develops now he is fit and firing again.