In a season of much positivity, young left-back Sean Kavanagh has been one of the Under-18s’ most impressive performers.
Tenacious in the tackle and ambitious when on the ball, the Republic of Ireland youth international has turned heads this term, and despite only arriving at the Club on the final day of last summer’s transfer window, the youngster is considered as one of the Academy’s brightest prospects.
Technically assured and a fine reader of play, it is, however, his ability to deliver pin-point crosses that has most regularly got those in attendance talking. Impressing at both ends of the pitch, the 18-year-old has become an undoubtedly important player for Under-18 Manager Kit Symons.
Now in his last year of youth football, Kavanagh is determined to end the season as strongly as possible as the Whites go in search of back-to-back league titles.
Sean Kavanagh - Defender
For those that haven’t seen me play, I would best describe myself as an attack-minded left-back. I like to get forward as much as possible and, when on the ball, I like to pass it around. I do like to tackle, but I’d say that one of my biggest strengths is getting crosses into the opposition box.
I’ve always been a full-back and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Quite often you find that players are gradually moved back from more offensive positions, but this has been my position for years and it’s the one that I feel most comfortable in.
Growing up I was a big Liverpool fan, and funnily enough one of my favourite players was John Arne Riise. He was a real favourite at Anfield and I used to love watching him play. In terms of getting up the pitch from deep, there are few better. It’s great to be at the same club as him now. He’s a player that I can learn a lot from.
I feel that I have become a much better player at Fulham, even though I haven’t been here that long. I joined last August and leaving my home in Dublin was really difficult. I found the move hard at first, and it wasn’t easy not seeing my family. But it’s something that I had to get used to and, having got my head down and worked hard, despite the difficult start, the move has been good for me.
Back home I played for Belvedere FC, which was the youth team Stephen Kelly also used to play for. It has a good reputation for producing decent young footballers and I think I was one of five that left to join teams in the Premier League. Going back a bit further, you’ll find quite a few Irish players started out there.
It goes without saying that Fulham’s Irish connection has been a big help. It’s been great having the likes of Stephen Kelly and Damien Duff around and, of course, one day I’d like to go on and play for the First Team and my country just like they are doing right now.
I’ve represented the Republic of Ireland at Under-16 and 17 level, and now I’m with the Under-19s. We have the Under-19 European Championship Qualifiers coming up in May and we’ve been drawn in a tricky group alongside Portugal, Ukraine and Israel. It would be great to play some of the games, so I’m hoping to be involved. It goes without saying that it is an honour to pull on the jersey.
Like the rest of the boys, I was gutted to lose our FA Youth Cup Quarter-Final game. We went out the week before last, but it still hurts. We got so close, and having done well up until that point we had high hopes that we could go all the way to the Final. We just didn’t turn up on the night, but fair play to Burnley for making our life difficult. It was a low point for us all.
We need to move on now and concentrate on finishing the league season as strongly as possible. The table is still quite open, so we have a chance. The boys lifted the trophy last season, so to do that again would be a fantastic achievement. Hopefully we can make that happen.
This will be my last season of involvement with the Under-18s, as I move up to Ray Lewington’s Development Squad next season. I signed a one-year-pro deal when I first arrived, and in making the step up I’m hoping to extend that. I know that it will be difficult, but it’s a challenge that excites me.