Leeds United midfielder chats after first start in pre-season friendly
After a successful 2018/19 season, winning the U23s PDL-National league, and then joining up with Northern Ireland for their summer training camp; Alfie McCalmont continued his progression with a starting place in last night's 5-0 win against York City.
We caught up with the 19 year-old Leeds United midfielder to find out how he felt making the step up to the senior side, and his aims for the rest of pre-season.
How did it feel to play over an hour against York City last night?
AM: "I enjoyed it. It was the first time playing with the first-team properly.
"I've been training with them since the start of pre-season, buying into what we've doing, getting used to what they wanted me to do in my role, and it was a great chance to go out there and play my game.
"We've got a good side, and it was an opportunity to go out there and show it. There was a lot of one-twos, a lot of running in behind, we've worked hard on our shape and possession, and I think we showed that."
First time running out with the senior team, what was running through your mind?
AM: "I was nervous at first, with it being my first time, but it became like any other game. Once you get your first touch, that's it, you're in the zone, and you just play your normal game."
What was the message from the players and coaching staff before the game?
AM: "All the players and staff have been really supportive since I joined the group, they just told me to play my normal game, put the work in, and get the minutes in.
"With it being pre-season, we just wanted to get our fitness up, and with us playing an hour, we put everything into those 60 minutes. The task now is to keep that momentum going into the next game."
Did you have to adapt much from playing with the U23s to the first team?
AM: "It was a lot quicker, but with it being the first game of pre-season everyone is still building back up to it. The training over the last few weeks has been fantastic, I felt sharp, we've done a lot of running and preparation, so going out there it felt good."
What did your family think of you making your first start?
AM: "I found out I was going to be in the squad two days ago, so my dad and my brother came down to support me, and my mum had to watch on tv as she couldn't deal with the nerves. I spoke to my parents straight after the game, and obviously they're really proud."
How have you found pre-season so far?
AM: "It's been really good, a lot more challenging than last season. I've done a lot of running, and a lot of 9-7 double sessions, but I've really enjoyed it. Hopefully I can keep playing with the first-team, build upon what I've learnt, and take it into the season. The aim is to hopefully make my competitive debut."