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UKFT Player Stars in Red Bull Documentary and Trains with RB Leipzig in Germany

Published Monday 25th of September 2017 04:26 PM

Good to see you again, Rod! We’ve known you for a couple of years now, and you’ve been to about five or six or our trials…

Yeah and I believe UK Football Trials does work. I’ve been to the likes of Barnsley, Accrington and others through UK Football Trials so it has worked for me, it’s just up to the players to make it work.

 

So we’ve seen this Red Bull documentary and wow! It looked incredible, how did this opportunity come about?

Well Jimmy from UK Football Trials put me in touch with Red Bull and then they came to my house and interviewed me. There were 100 candidates to choose from, so they narrowed it down to ten, did interviews about their background and that kind of thing. Then they chose three out of the ten and they called me and said they found my story interesting and it would do well for the documentary.

 

And how did you find out they’d selected you to go to Germany? 

Well we did a bit of a background documentary about where I’ve been, what I’ve been doing and stuff like that. Then two days after that there was a trial game with the three boys from London playing and obviously we just had to perform, and they picked me out of the three boys.

 

That must have been an amazing feeling?

It was! It was a good feeling. Going to train with another team abroad was something I’d never done before so I was looking forward to it.

 

What was it like when you got there, how was your first day?

It was a bit overwhelming because the facilities were top level. We did a bit of a light session to ease me into it with the u23’s, a bit of shooting, technical work, nothing too much. I found it really, really, really good.

 

Was there anything that stood out for you during the week, a personal highlight?

Training with the u23’s on the Thursday was good because we did a lot of small-sided games, a lot of possession and stuff that relates to my game. And then I had an individual session with one of the coaches just working on my touch, shooting, crossing and stuff like that.

 

And how did training with a Champions League club help you improve, it’s a different game in Germany, isn’t it?

Yeah it helped me realise that football’s a lot different all over the world. In Germany they like to get the ball to feet and they like to play, they like to attack the ball aggressively, keep it on the floor and work as a team. Whereas in England they can skip the midfield really, it goes straight to the forward and back to the defence, Germany’s a lot more tactical.

 

So you prefer the German game then?

The German game suits my game. It’s tough and it will be hard but I prefer the way they play.

 

Would you like to go back out there and explore other options?

It would be nice but for now it’s more about settling here and getting my head down, get playing here again. I was playing semi-pro last season and had a good, successful year so it’s just about moving forward now and playing at a higher level.

 

During this documentary you spent quite a lot of time with Djibril Cissè – a Champions League winner who played in your position – did he give you any advice?

Yeah he gave me a lot of advice about things on the field but also off it. Things like mentally preparing for games, that was really useful. He gave me lots of feedback and so did the club, there wasn’t anything bad from anyone.

 

Do you still stay in touch with people from the club?

I do, someone told me recently actually that he thinks my best chance would be to possibly go to the New York Red Bulls. So he’s sent a few emails around and he’s just waiting to hear back now and see what happens.

 

And finally, what’s the biggest thing that you took away from this whole experience?

I took a lot away from there but the main thing was, knowing my ability fully. I now understand that I’ve got a lot more to give, which I didn’t know until I went out there. Almost like I’ve found another level.