Fleetwood Town defender Will Johnson sat down with the Club this week to discuss his pre-season thus far, training with the first team and the match on Tuesday at Lancaster City.
Johnson - who captained the Under-18s last year - earned his first year professional contract after impressive coaches with his performances on the pitch as well as his attitude off the pitch, and with opportunities falling the youngsters way, the centre half has taken them.
The 18-year-old made his first team debut against Preston North End last week, and whilst being in and around the squad last season, Johnson is now setting his sights on getting more opportunuties, however knows there's a lot of hard work to come.
Here's what Will had to say in his pre-Lancaster City interview:
On pre-season so far…
“Pre-season has gone well for me. I have had opportunities with the first team and for me that is great to show that the gaffer [Scott Brown] has trust in me to step up and play in the first team and take part in training on a daily basis.
“The first team have a different fitness programme, but to stay fit and mix it with the Development Squad and the first team meant I had to get myself to a certain level.
“I have had plenty of game time through the Under-21s, but the other week I got the chance to play a few minutes for the first team against Preston North End at Highbury, and to make my first team debut in that match was an amazing moment.
“I found out the day before that I would be involved in the matchday squad and that minutes could be available, but with the game and how it panned out, it looked like I wouldn’t get on but then being told to warm-up and getting those excited nervous, it was great to be exposed to the crowds and the environment, as well as to play alongside an experience pro in Toto [Nsiala].”
On the match against Lancaster City…
“Tuesday will be a tough game for us. Lancaster City are in non-league but they are a senior men’s side and it will be different as most of their players will have worked during the day, whereas we will have been resting in the morning and then getting into matchday mode later in the day so beforehand we want to focus taking aspects forward from Friday’s game against Stoke.
“It will be just as challenging as the Stoke match, but having it’s own different elements that we as players need to make sure we are in the right frame of mind.
On training with Town’s first team…
“It has been great to train with the first team. Everybody’s understanding of what is expected is higher than those in the Under-18s and Under-21s, but to be able to play out, it gives me confidence and then when I came back to the Development Squad, it makes me more comfortable on the ball.
“The exposures to being closed down by Jack Marriott and other strikers, you learn bits from them and fellow defenders on how to deal with those situations, whether it’s a block or some movement here and there, but it all puts me in good stead for the upcoming season.
“These experiences have made me even hungrier to make it to the first team. Obviously, every ones goal is to make it as a first team player and people are getting chances at a young age at this Club, and it’s about taking your opportunity when it comes around.”