Ashley Young was born in Stevenage in 1983 and was educated at John Henry Newman School but also spent a year at Barclay School where he studied for a BTEC in sport. He played for Stevenage Colts in local junior league football. From the age of 15 /17 he was part of the Watford Youth set-up before signing as a professional. At 18 in 2003 he celebrated his first team debut by scoring his first goal for Watford. In the 2004-05 season Ashley played in 34 of Watford's matches and won their Young Player of the Season Award. In 2005-06 Ashley played in 41 league games scoring 15 times as Watford won promotion to the Premiership.