Last season you signed your first professional contract, and very quickly that was extended. You must be pleased with the progress that you’ve made?
Yes, of course, because last season was a big step up for me, having moved on from the Under-16s. Last year was a really good campaign, not just for me, but for everyone that was involved. Signing my first professional contract was a big deal for me personally - it was something I’d worked very hard for. To have that extended was fantastic and shows that I’ve been doing well. Over the past 12 months, I do feel like I’ve improved as a player; I’m more physical, I feel fitter and stronger and my positional play has also come on.
We know how good you are on the ball when it comes to passing and keeping possession. But you seem to have added goals to your game now as well - was this also something that you focused on?
I think it’s important for a midfielder to chip in with goals, and thankfully I’ve managed to do that. We do a lot of work on our finishing during the week, and it’s paid off on a matchday. I wouldn’t say that it’s one of my main responsibilities, but when I get in and around the box I like to think I can find the target. It’s always nice to score a goal, no matter where you play.
In the recent edition of Fultime, Martin Jol highlighted you as one of the Under-18 players that has really stood out for him. How does that make you feel?
That’s good to hear, because it’s always nice to be noticed. I’ve trained with the First Team squad on occasions, but I know that there’s a long way for me to go yet before I’m ready to play at that level. But, of course, that’s the long-term goal. It’s all about taking one step at a time, and the natural progression would mean doing well for the Under-21s first.
Of course, the Club has a new American owner. That must have been doubly exciting for you when news broke over the summer?
It was, and obviously it adds another reason as to why this Club is so special to me. It’s nice to have that American link and I received a lot of texts when the news was announced. Fulham are a very popular club in the States and, as we know, it’s a connection that goes back a long way now.
Quite a few young American players leave the States to pursue their career in Europe - it’s a tough challenge. But what key attributes do you think you need in order to be a success?
There’s so many examples of young players leaving the US to try their luck, but a large majority head back home very quickly. Being so far away from everything you’ve ever known is a massive challenge and sometimes, no matter how talented you are, that can have a big effect. Fulham is a very family oriented club, so I’ve always been very comfortable here. But I don’t think that’s the same for every team, and it can often be the difference. Some youngsters make the move and feel very isolated; thankfully that wasn’t the case for me. You have to work hard, of course, and I’ve just got my head down and listened to everything my coaches have said - you just have to keep going, even on a tough day.