Charlie Walker has been backed to be a success at Luton Town – by the manager who let him go.
The Peacehaven striker, left, yesterday completed a move to the League Two new boys on a two-year deal.
Walker netted 43 goals for the Magpies as they won the Ryman south title and the Sussex Senior Cup last season. There is no fee involved in the move but Luton will send a full first team to play Peacehaven in a pre-season friendly next summer.
The 24-year-old joined Peacehaven on a permanent deal last summer after finding opportunities limited at Whitehawk, where his manager was Darren Freeman.
Former Albion favourite Freeman recommended Walker to Luton in his role as a scout for the Hatters.
Having made the step-up from non-league football to the professional ranks during his own playing career, Freeman felt Walker was ready for a crack at full-time football after his impressive season at the Sports Park.
Freeman said: “I have always thought Charlie was a great prospect. He came to Whitehawk as a very good player, young and an unbelievable finisher.
“I worked one-on-one with Charlie with his finishing and he was tremendous.
“People will say he didn’t play a lot of games at Whitehawk but the style we played didn’t suit him. He never sulked when he wasn’t playing, his character was tremendous and his determination stood out.
“I spoke to him last summer and he went to Peacehaven where Shaun (Saunders) got the best out of his.
“He has gone from strength to strength and now he has his reward.”
Walker began his senior career in the County League with Shoreham and Lancing before joining Whitehawk.
Freeman added: “It shows there are gems around in non-league football and if a player wants it enough he can get it.”
Walker’s goalscoring exploits last summer attracted plenty of interest and Magpies boss Saunders said he would not stand in the way of any player who wanted to progress in the game.
Although the club have not benefited by way of a fee, the club are delighted by Walker’s move.
Chairman Andrew Melbourne said: “Charlie was a great player for us, he showed great desire for us and we are pleased because this is great for him.
“I have spoken to John Still (Luton manager) and he has said he will down a full first team along next summer.”