First of all, thanks very much to Exeter for selling us this kid and hats off to Alex Neil and those behind the transfer because this 21-year-old is destined to go far, whether that’s in white with North End or another club, Jordan Storey has some future ahead of him.
The Yeovil born centre back made his start in football at Exeter City’s academy and was offered professional terms by the Grecians in 2016. He also made his first-team debut in the same year on August 30th as he came on as a sub in the 62nd minute against Oxford United, a game which Exeter lost 4-2 in a Checkatrade Trophy group match. The next chapter in his career saw him go out on loan to Southern League Division One South & West side Tiverton Town in March 2017.
Whilst at Tiverton, Storey played 6 times as the side gained promotion to the Southern League Premier Division. He then went out on loan to Dorchester Town and played 13 times before he was recalled by Exeter as they suffered a number of injuries to first-team defenders. He then made his league debut for Exeter in October 2017 coming on as a 94th minute substitute in a 1-1 draw away at Mansfield Town. February 3rd saw Storey get his first league start in a 1-0 defeat to Luton Town away at Kenilworth Road and his first goal in professional football came in March 2018 when he scored the only goal in a 1-0 win away at Port Vale.
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The young centre-back went on to make a total of 17 appearances in all competitions for Exeter and scored twice as he helped the Grecians reach the League Two play-off final. In his somewhat short career, he received rave reviews from all areas. His manager at Exeter City, Paul Tisdale, was full of praise and described him as being “full of potential”. There were also some sections of the Exeter faithful describing Storey as Exeter’s “best defender”, despite him only having played a handful of times. However, after only spending 2 years on Exeter’s books, he would soon be off up north for pastures new.
The Championship Beckons
12th June 2018. Probably not a day that lives in the memory of many North End fans but, it was on this day that Jordan Storey signed a four-year contract at Deepdale. He joined for a ‘significant undisclosed fee’ but that’s believed, by some, to be a fee of around £750,000. Some fans at the time may have said that’s a lot to spend on a defender from league two with less than 15 first-team appearances but at 20-years-old, it was a signing with one eye on the future.
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Storey’s first three appearances in a North End shirt came in the Carabao Cup when he made his debut in a 3-1 victory against Morecambe and went on to start against Leeds United in a 2-0 win away at Elland Road and a 2-2 draw at Deepdale which Boro won 4-3 on penalties.
The 12 league games that Storey has featured in so far this season, he has only been on the losing side 3 times, winning 4 and drawing 5 conceding an average of 1.16 goals per game. He has started to form a rather formidable partnership with the other young centre back at the club, Ben Davies who came through the academy at North End and was given the confidence and chance by Alex Neil to go and play. As was mentioned in an earlier article, the introduction of Storey alongside Davies has meant that the centre of defence has been much more stable. This is something that Alex Neil has noticed too, saying that the youngster’s progress has been remarkable and acknowledges the blossoming partnership forming between the pair.
DR on Davies and Storey: “They are playing like seasoned pros and they are top class, I can’t speak highly enough of them and I hope the club can keep hold of them for years to come because they’ve not even hit their peak yet.” #pnefc
— Preston North End FC (@pnefc) February 11, 2019
Storey’s ability to read the game is what sets him apart to many other defenders of his age. His pace also helps him but, oftentimes this season he has picked the ball up and played it out from the back by moving up the pitch with it and his vertical passing into the forwards is another stand out attribute of his. He has averaged 33.8 passes per game which is the lowest of the four central defenders at the club but this is in part down to his inexperience and the fact he plays a ‘lesser role’ of the two defenders, whoever it is that he plays alongside. He does, however, have the second highest pass completion, 72%, of the four central defenders North End have on their books with only Ben Davies having a higher pass completion at 75.5%.
Stats aside, what has caught the eye more than anything is the way in which he plays. For a 21-year-old, he plays with such a cool head and stays calm on the ball. Numerous times this season he has brought the ball out of defence and moves up into midfield helping to push the team higher up the pitch. It’s his style of play that has drawn comments from the fans about him being such an impressive young footballer, one of many at the club at the moment, and one who has a bright future in front of him. If he carries on developing at the rate he is, he’ll certainly go far in the game.