All photographs used in this article are courtesy of Brad Wade and Guiseley Football Club.
You are a Rochdale player, currently on loan at Guiseley, and you’ve been at the club for a number of years. What has your experience of the club been like so far?
The club have been massive for my development because the structured academy system is very well run. Prior to joining the club, I didn’t really have a set plan on becoming a professional footballer however that all changed when I was fifteen and I started playing district and county football.
I was probably the only player in my county team that wasn’t playing for an academy. That soon changed as I joined Rochdale soon after and ever since then my development has been at the club and I’ve loved it because the coaches have worked very hard to progress me as a player.
You had short term loan spells at Barrow and Ramsbottom. What did you learn from those spells?
I think going out on loan when you have the opportunity is essential to help you progress. You look at many of the top goalkeepers in the Premier League and so far have been out on loan as young keepers.
It’s a different type of football in non-league due to the way that teams play. Each of those spells helped me develop a lot on the training pitch and on the field each Saturday.
Ian Evatt was the manager at Barrow and he was superb with me. He liked the way I wanted to play as a goalkeeper and even though I didn’t play, it helped me build my confidence in and around senior pros.
Ramsbottom was the first loan were I was playing regularly and it was a reality check for me because at first I thought I’d adapt easily but you quickly learn that football is a lot tougher than that at all levels.
You are now on loan at Guiseley in National League North and playing against former many former football league clubs and ambitious clubs in that division. How have you adapted to the level of the league?
It’s a very tough league when you look at the clubs in the league as you say because they’re all ambitious and want to get back into the football league. Some of the players in the league have also played at a very high level in the past and the standard is high.
For my personal development it’s been brilliant as you don’t get an easy game in National League North. Anyone can beat anyone.
It’s been very important for me as a young goalkeeper to build a position relationship with the back four in front of me which I’ve worked hard to do. Our skipper is Hamza Bencherif and he’s been superb with me as he is very commanding and leads by example which helps everyone throughout matches including myself.
We play our from the back and are brave on the ball which is ideal for me as that’s exactly what Rochdale want from me as a goalkeeper as well.
Being a goalkeeper is such a tough position. Are there any goalkeepers in English football who you look up to?
I look up to Ederson. He sets high standards and is so calm on the ball. He can play passed that some outfielders can’t even play. The composure and consistency that he has in his game is inspiring for me as a young goalkeeper too.
You’re at the early stages of your career. So far, who are the best players you’ve played with and your toughest opponents?
That’s a tough one. When I was a first year scholar at Rochdale I actually got the opportunity to go on loan to Manchester United for a youth tournament which was amazing as we played a against top sides like Tottenham. It was a massive confidence booster for me and an invaluable experience.
I played with Mason Greenwood and Brandon Williams in that team. At the time they were both great players but given what they’ve gone on to do in their careers so far I would have to choose them. In terms of playing with someone on a week to week basis it would be Aaron Morley who I’m at Rochdale with. His vision and passing range is amazing.
In terms of toughest opponents so far, basing it on this season, I would say either John Rooney or Akwasi Asante both great players who caused a lot of problems for different reasons.
Lastly, which coaches have helped you so far in your journey?
I’d have to say one of my first coaches at Rochdale called Ryan Ball. He was great at teaching me the basics as I was coming through and his delight for me when I got my first contract summed up the character that he is. A great guy and a great coach.
Steve Collis was also key with me and I owe a lot to him.