NEWPORT County AFC hope they have unearthed the new Jamie Vardy after signing 21-year-old forward Lamar Reynolds from non-league Brentwood Town.

Reynolds is described by the Exiles as an “attacking wide player” and scored 28 goals in 36 appearances for the Essex side in the Isthmian League Division One North last season.

He is one of the first graduates of Jamie Vardy’s V9 Academy, which was set up by the England striker in an attempt to get more non-league talent into the English Football League.

Vardy (below) famously went from playing for part-timers Stocksbridge Park Steels to winning the Premier League with Leicester City and playing for England at Euro 2016 within six years.

South Wales Argus:

Reynolds was one of 42 non-league players who attended a five-day V9 showcase at Manchester City’s state-of-the-art training complex earlier this month.

Around 60 scouts from across the UK and further afield were also in attendance to watch the hopefuls take on Welsh clubs TNS and Bangor City.

And, after Danny Newton and Blair Turgott signed for League Two rivals Stevenage, Reynolds is the third to be snapped up.

South Wales Argus:

Reynolds rejected interest from other clubs to sign a two-year deal at Rodney Parade (above).

He says the way the Exiles finished last season under new manager Michael Flynn – winning seven out of the final 12 games to complete the Great Escape and avoid relegation – was a major factor in his decision.

“I’m delighted to have signed for Newport County AFC,” said Reynolds, who previously played for Heybridge Swifts, Thurrock, Grays Athletic and Aveley & Barking.

“A few clubs were interested in me, but Newport showed the most interest. “The gaffer was also a big factor in signing after seeing what he did at the end of last season. I see a bright future for me with this club.”

Flynn is happy to make Reynolds his fourth new signing of the summer and is convinced that the youngster will improve under his guidance and that of coach Wayne Hatswell and advisor Lennie Lawrence.

“I’m really pleased Lamar has decided to sign,” said the Exiles boss.

“I know a lot of teams were interested in him over the summer. He’s an exciting attacking player who can cause defenders a lot a trouble. “With myself, Wayne and Lennie, we’re hoping the coaching we give him will help him fulfil his potential.”

South Wales Argus:

County made more than £400,000 from their 2012 investment in Conor Washington (above) but similar moves for the likes of Joe Parker in 2013 and Tom Meechan in 2016 failed to work out.

Flynn, who has also added David Pipe, Robbie Willmott and Matty Dolan to his squad this summer, admits that he has failed to land some targets in recent weeks.

“We’ve missed out on one or two down to finances but we can’t do anything about that and we move on,” he said.

“We’re not the richest of clubs and it’s taken a bit longer than I would have hoped but we are still looking to add to the squad.”