Well we have come to the end of another season and just like the first team, my season has been very up and down.
I have had a few injury problems this season which has meant I haven’t played as much as I would have liked, but I can still take a lot out of it, and it was far from a wasted season.
As I have said in previous blogs this year, I have learned so much about myself, football and life in general in the past 10 months and feel like my character and mentality has become even stronger.
Although I have not played in as many youth team games as I would have liked, I have played all of the under 17’s games, played for the reserves several times and had the opportunity to train with first team players.
Of course you need games to improve, but training with the likes of Nick Carle, Matt Lawrence, Danny Butterfield, Calvin Andrew and Paddy McCarthy is a fantastic way to learn.
It’s always sad at the end of the season when some players get released, as you have been playing with them for years in some cases.
Personally I found more help and direction in the young pro’s than I did the second year apprentices, and seeing some of them go isn’t nice. I played for the reserves before I played for the youth team, and I feel I gained a lot of respect in my first game with them against Eastbourne.
I had a good game and maybe if some of them weren’t sure on me beforehand, they had different opinions after 90 minutes.
Whereas some players tell you what you want to hear to not damage your confidence, or to hamper your friendship, these guys are honest people and know that when you cross that line and start playing, friendship goes out the window.
Football is a tough, tough business and honesty from other people is vital. You need to be told where you’re going wrong and need to improve, not what you’re so fantastic at and what they love about you.
Although so much has happened this year it seems to have flown by. I can still remember the nerves before pre-season when us first years didn’t know what to expect and were in the wilderness.
We will be looked up to next year and people will be coming to us, and asking advice. I enjoy being looked up to and I like leading people and helping others. I believe I am a leader and next year I will prove that.
Despite the first team finishing on May 2nd, our last day wasn’t until the 13th as part of our scholarship involves doing a Level 2 coaching badge. We were doing that for a week and a half with ex-Arsenal midfielder Paul Davis, so we had to be in a little longer.
Even though our last day was on the 13th and have been given five or so weeks off, I will not be resting over summer. We finished on the Thursday and I was back in the gym on the Monday, and will be working tirelessly on my body in preparation for next year.
My hamstring hampered the end of the season for me, and unfortunately went three times. Getting that right will be my main concern, but I will also be working hard on my upper body strength.
Next year is the biggest season of my life and I cannot afford to be getting injured and missing games. I am going to be so dedicated in getting my body to the best shape it’s ever been in, and that doesn’t happen with rest.
Niall Clark has given us off-season programmes to do, but I know my body and what it needs and will be working on that harder than ever. We are in Holland for a couple of weeks in pre-season so it will be nice to get away and play some football in different surroundings.
I have been on a football tour to Holland before, and the biggest thing for me was the state of their pitches – they are fantastic. Whilst the weather may not be much different to England, the pitches are like carpet and it will be good for us to get some quality work in.
I know what I need to do to get a pro contract, and I don’t want to be having any regrets come the end of next season. Nothing but positivity and confidence will run through my mind between now and decision time and I will do everything humanly possible to get where I want.
I wish you all a great summer and i should be back next season with more blogs – See you in pre-season!