I’m a bit late in doing this blog as it has been a really busy period for me with plenty of ups and downs.
Youth Alliance Match: Carlisle United v Wigan Athletic
We played Wigan ten days ago and it was a disappointing 2 – 0 defeat. It was our first game since Andy Cook, our leading scorer, went out on loan. He’s been scoring for fun all season in the Youth team and it was difficult for us. We never looked like scoring really, and that’s no disrespect to our strikers, but as a team we didn’t create much. We got a penalty late on when they were already one up, and we missed that, then shortly after that incident they caught us on the break and scored their second.
Overall it just wasn’t our day. We couldn’t get the ball in the net and the goals we conceded were really poor from our point of view. It’s a shame because it was three points dropped, which doesn’t help us in our title push. Hopefully we can recover from it and move on, because it’s all still to play for.
I had found out a couple of days before that game that I’d been called up to the Scotland U19’s, so I didn’t go home after the Wigan game. My Dad came to the game then took me up to Scotland, where we stopped in a hotel. That meant that I didn’t have to travel back home to Bolton and then go all the way back up again.
We met the Scotland team and travelled over to Edinburgh on the Sunday, and stopped at the Marriot on the Sunday night. On Monday we trained at Hearts in the morning, and then Hibs in the afternoon. They were both excellent training facilities, as you’d expect from top SPL clubs, and it was a good experience to go there.
On Tuesday we were up early in the morning and we flew to Paris, then travelled on to the French National Camp. The facilities were absolutely unbelievable there, totally amazing. There were so many pitches and the rooms we stayed in were really nice. We settled ourselves in to it all and we had a training session on the Tuesday night.
International Match: France U19 v Scotland U19
On the Wednesday it was the day of the game. Playing France, it was never going to be easy, as they are a very strong side. I knew at half time that I was going to get on and I came on about ten minutes into the second half. I also knew it was going to be difficult, as it was my international debut and it was a bit nerve wracking, but I did really enjoy it. I thought I did ok and gave a good account of myself.
It was a great experience to go out there and play with that calibre of player. The opposition had players from Lyon and other top clubs in France, and I was playing alongside players from the top clubs in Scotland and some Premiership Clubs, so it was all pretty special. We lost the game 3 – 2 in the end but I think I’ve learned an awful lot from the experience.
I got back to Carlisle on the Thursday night and trained as normal on the Friday. We didn’t have a game last Saturday so I went home on Friday night and had the weekend off, which was good.
On Monday (2nd March) I had to do my first proper press conference, which was in front of the TV cameras as well as the written press, and I had photos taken in my Scotland strip for the local newspaper and for the club. It was a good experience, sitting in front of a couple of cameras and three or four interviewers. It was a quite nerve wracking and daunting experience but you get used to it, and I suppose it’s something most professional footballers have to do from time to time.
Youth Alliance Match: Carlisle United v Tranmere Rovers
I had to rush off straight after that because we had a League game against Tranmere at dinnertime. We never play Youth games on a Monday as a rule, but with not having a game on the Saturday it was good to have this one.
It was a cagey game for both sides with no real openings. Fortunately we got the only goal of the game in the second half, and I thought we defended really well as a team. The three points gets us back on track to push on for the League, and it was good to beat Tranmere after they knocked us out of the Cup. Like I say, now it’s just a case of pushing on from here.