Under 18s camptain on stepping things up
Wolves’ Academy Under-18s are back in league action on Saturday when Manchester United are the visitors to Compton Park. Tom Heslop caught up with captain Cameron John to discuss the season so far.
Q: You’ve had a fairly balanced start to the season this year with two wins, two draws and two losses. What areas do you think the team could improve on to turn those draws and losses into wins?
CJ: I think our defending could improve. I believe we give away a few sloppy goals every game, so we just need to tighten up in defence and make sure we don’t make those silly little errors and then I think we will be fine.
Q: How do you go about trying to cut out those errors and improve defensively?
A: I think we can definitely improve together. During games, we just make silly mistakes that we don’t normally so in training. We just need to improve ourselves as individuals and make sure we perform better in the games.
Q: It was a dramatic win last time out against local rivals West Bromwich Albion, it must give the lads a boost beating your local rivals. Talk us through what it was like winning the game in the 94th minute.
A: It is an amazing feeling, especially as it was against a local rival. It gave us a massive boost because we were running a little bit low on confidence, and that just boosted the morale of the whole group and we came off the pitch buzzing.
Q: Winning that sort of game, it must give you different sort of feeling compared to other games that you win because it is against a local rival?
A: Yes, of course it does, because with it being against West Brom, we all know that it is a rival and for us to go out and how that we have that sort of character and determination to turn the game around at half time just showed how much the game meant to us. The celebration at the end proved that as well!
Q: Do you think the character is something that is building in the under 18s?
A: We are just getting to know each other more and more now and I think it is just starting to come together. I can see the changes that are happening, we are bonding really well and we can now go and push on as a team.
Q: Do you think the understanding in the team is also improving game by game?
A: Yes, I would say so. The more we play, the more we understand each other’s games and how we all play as individuals. We will just get better and better. I think when that happens, our errors and mistakes in games will just be cut out and we will be a very strong team.
Q: As captain, do you make it your responsibility to lift the lads when they aren’t performing to the standard that that should be?
A: It is part of my job to do that. As captain, you have to have the ability to keep yourself up and going as well as motivating your team mates but it is nice that in this team, we are all close. Everyone is around to motivate each other. When I am a bit down or something isn’t going my way, my team mates will always be there to pick me up.
Q: Does the manager put any extra responsibilities on you as captain when you are in that sort of situation?
A: Yeah, he looks to me as the leader of the group. I am the one who is looked at to pull the lads through whatever situation we are in and try and get everyone going so I will always try and live up to that expectation.
Q: Last year, when you moved to the club, you were compared to first team full back Dominic Iorfa, who had also moved at a similar age from Southend. Is he still somebody that you look up to and aspire to be like?
A: Of course. To see how well he is doing in the first team is great. He is playing there consistently at a young age and him playing for England Under-21s as well is good to see. Personally for me, going through similar steps, it is nice to see us being compared and hopefully I will be able to achieve the same sort of things as him.
Q: Do you think it is difficult when you come into a new club, being compared to somebody who is already in and around the first team? Do you think it gives the fans something to look forward to?
A: Hopefully it does. Obviously they can see just how good Dom is and I’d like to think they can see me as one of the next best things but I need to bide my time and keep working hard to improve. Let’s just wait and see!
Q: This year, have you set yourself many targets?
A: Yes, I have set myself a few. My main aim is to get into the under 23s this year. I think I need to push myself further, I need to continue to play well, train well and hopefully break into that squad. Hopefully I can break into the squad. It is something that I am aspiring to do. But obviously with all the changes, there are a lot of players in that specific group so it is a little bit harder than it usually would be, but if I am playing consistently well in the under 18s then I don’t see why I can’t get into that squad.
Q: Is there a greater challenge now to break into the Under-23s?
A: A little bit but I don’t see why we can’t do it. We have all got the technical ability to play there so why not? If we get the chance to play in that squad, we need to take it with both hands and see where it takes us but in my own opinion, I would say we are all ready, so when the chance comes around, we all need to take it.