MORE than 2,000 junior footballers are being scouted every week in Barnsley as the Reds' academy aims to unearth its future stars.

The club employs 25 scouts to watch players as young as eight in the hope to find the next John Stones.

The defender, who now plays for Premier League high-flyers Everton, is just one of the local stars who started out at the academy.

Academy chief Ronnie Branson revealed that top flight teams are also sending their scouts to the town but remains confident youngsters will opt for their hometown club.

He said: "You see the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool scouts watching games in Barnsley.

"We've seen some aggressive scouting methods but we want to do it the right way.

"We form relationships with clubs and build links. We're very honest about our aims and ambitions.

"We don't have the financial resources that some clubs have but we know that players will enjoy it here and we've got the success stories to back it up."