Family Business

Tuesday 5 July 2005

Being a footballer and having a famous footballing Dad has often been described as something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the parent will know first hand the requirements needed to be a success in the sport. Yet on the down side, the more successful that parent, the harder it can be for the son to make a name for himself.

Last season saw Liam Rosenior, son of Leroy, step into the world of First Team football with great success and now young Fulham midfielder Neale McDermott is hoping he can achieve the same target in the forthcoming campaign.

You could be forgiven for thinking that being the son of legendary Liverpool midfielder Terry McDermott has given young Neale a lot of live up to, yet there is no overbearing sense of expectation on the former England Youth International.

NEALE, HOW WAS LAST SEASON FOR YOU PERSONALLY?

"I've was fairly happy; I played in the majority of the Reserve games and done well. From the start of the season through to January/February time I thought I did ok, but I was perhaps a bit inconsistent since then, and hadn't done quite as well without being too disappointed with myself."

DOES HAVING A FAMOUS FOOTBALLING DAD HELP OR HINDER YOUR CAREER?

"When I was Newcastle, where he has such strong associations, it was a bit of a hindrance. His name is so familiar there that I think it was inevitable that everyone would always draw comparisons.

"But down here it's all right - I'm just one of the boys which is the way I like it. I get to speak to him regularly on the phone, but he doesn't get to see too many games now.

"There's no real advantage in him having been a professional. He can give you a few pointers, but really you've just got to get on with it yourself. To me, he's just my Dad!"

AND FOR THE RESERVES?

"There were some good performances and some good wins - the most notable was probably the game against the Arsenal where we beat them 5-1. But we lost games to some of the lesser teams, so we really need to be a lot more consistent on that front.

"But all in all, I've been fairly happy, and I'm staying on next year which is great, so I've done something to impress the main people here."

THAT ARSENAL GAME WAS A REAL HIGHLIGHT...

"I was very happy with that game in particular, although I nearly got sent off - I was treading a bit of a fine line! But where I played that night was my best position - I'd been changing around a bit before that.

"If we play 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 or whatever you want to call it, I like to play central and deep. But if we play a diamond, which we had been doing lately, then I can play right hand side, or top or bottom. I'm quite flexible really, but central and breaking though is best for me - I haven't really got the pace to play wide, and playing just off the striker doesn't really suit me.

"I played in that deep role against the Arsenal, and I thought I looked at my strongest there."

WHAT DOES NEXT YEAR HOLD FOR YOU?

"Hopefully I'll just be bubbling under the First Team. I've just got to keep proving myself and get the seed of thought into the Gaffer and Steve Kean's minds that they should give me a chance to see if I can do it. Hopefully if they do that then I can take my chance."

IS CONSISTENCY THE KEY?

"That's exactly what the manager and Steve have been saying to us. They're looking for us to play eight or ten games in a row where we play to a consistently high level. It's no good playing well in one match, and then hopeless the next. They ask for a consistently high level of performance.

"To be fair, someone like Zesh did well and he was brought in and has played a lot, and Liam Rosenior as well. Players like myself and Michael Timlin, we've got to strive to be like them next year."

IT MUST BE ENCOURAGING TO SEE OTHER YOUNG PLAYERS MAKING THE BREAKTHROUGH?

"Definitely. Since Cookie's been manager, Adam Green's had a spell in the side, and this season Zesh and Liam have really broken through. So you think to yourself - a year ago I was playing with these guys, they've moved on because they've done well and taken their chances, now it's up to me to do the same."

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PLAYER?

"I work hard, I've got a good engine, I get from box to box in support, I'm told I'm intelligent on the ball and I can pass the ball, and I think I'm a decent communicator on the pitch."

WHAT ARE YOUR TARGETS FOR NEXT SEASON?

"Hopefully I'll come back for pre-season flying, and we'll see what happens from there. If I'm not breaking through immediately, then I'd like to go out on loan - that's been talked about already.

"It's good experience, and there's no doubt that you come back better for it. The gap between the Reserves and the First Team big, and the only way to bridge that gap is by going out on loan somewhere."

IS NEXT SEASON CRUCIAL FOR YOU?

"Every season seems to get bigger and bigger, and this one looks like it's going to be another big one. I've really got to push myself - it's going to be a big test for me and I've really got to sow the seeds of thought in their minds.

"I think it's going to be a make or break season for me. I'll be doing my best - I've been working hard during the summer so that I come back good for pre-season, and then we'll take it from there."