Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughRookie Richardson ready to roar - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Rookie Richardson ready to roar - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Rookie Richardson ready to roar

For the many young stars that light up the Premier League each week, their journey to the top has seen them accelerated through top notch academies on wages most teenagers can only dream of. For the majority of young players in this country however, the road to success is considerably less smooth, yet as York City’s Tom Richardson is finding out, it can be equally rewarding. So whilst Bootham Crescent, York’s humble home since 1932, may not share the enormity of Old Trafford or the spine-tingling atmosphere of Anfield, for 17 year old Richardson, it’s a great place to be.

A formidable 25 minute substitute performance in a preseason friendly against Hull City helped the powerful midfielder catch the eye of then City manager Martin Foyle who quickly to elevated Richardson to the first team squad and the youngster has relished the opportunity.

“The first game I was involved in with the first team was Wrexham away in the league. It was a great experience travelling down with the lads and getting involved in the warm up.

“It opened my eyes to what I want to aim for which is getting on the pitch and playing for the team.”

He is also quick to point out that his tender years haven’t hindered his confidence in taking on the senior players.

“I’ve been picked to train with the first team for a reason. I may only be 17 and they are all 25 or older, but they can see that I am a good enough player to go far.

“The other players tell me to continue what I’m doing and to constantly improve. Michael Ingham, our keeper and the squad’s joker, is always giving me advice and I’m very close to him.”

A pivotal figure in York’s Youth Team set-up, he was handed the captain’s armband at the start of the season and despite his exploits with the senior squad, he continues to play each week with his young contemporaries.

“We didn’t have a great start but we haven’t lost in the last four games so we’re starting to get a run together and play better.

“We go to college twice a week and we’re all very close. I’m the only youth player who trains full time with the first team but they’re all happy that I’ve been given the squad number.”

His fast elevation has given Richardson aspirations of going pro, and whilst he is happy to learn his trade in the depths of non-league football for now, he is aiming much higher.

“I’m aiming to go pro and I want to be offered a contract at York but really I am aiming higher and want to play in the Football League.

“I want to really make it as a professional but the more I think about it, the more it affects my performance so I’ve got to get on with my game and knuckle down.”

This steely determination is sure to stand him in good stead and with his feet firmly on the ground, he remains positive that his love of football, and not the riches that may accompany it, remains his motivation.

“Football is the only thing for me. If I make a career out of it the money will come but it’s not what motivates me at all. I just want a good, long career playing football.

“I’m looking to take my experience of football in the conference into the higher leagues. I feel I’m ready to play at a higher level and I’m hoping to make the move up soon.”

His ability, size and determination will surely be huge assets to him along the way, and as a life-long Newcastle fan, how would he feel pulling on the famous black and white: “It would be a dream! It really would cap it all off.”

Alex Smith

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