INTERVIEW: Never been as nervous

Young player on an amazing few weeks

Youth team second year Patrick Brough had a whirlwind weekend at the start of this season as he was whisked away from a youth team training session to join the ranks of the first team squad ahead of the big kick off against Leyton Orient.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, he was then thrust into the action against Blackburn Rovers in the following game as an injury to Reece James handed him his senior team debut in what was a thrilling encounter.

“If I’m honest, I didn’t really know what to think when it all started to happen,” he said. “I was sat in the dressing waiting to go out with the youth team and Davie Irons told me he needed to speak to me.

“He’d had a call from the gaffer to say that I was in the first team squad and that I had to get myself ready for that. My head was spinning but it was a great feeling.”

“Davie wished me all the best and told me to go and enjoy it,” he told us. “The gaffer told me that the important thing for me was to be myself and to take as much of it in as possible. He said that I’d be fine if I kept doing things the way I had been in training and I think that helped with the nerves.

“That whole day of the Orient game was an unbelievable experience,” he admitted. “Usually I’m stood outside the dressing room waiting for the lads and the gaffer to finish so that I can clean up. Seeing it from the other side of the door was an eye opener and you can tell how much it means to everyone to get it right.

“It probably helped that I’ve trained with the first team and played in a lot of reserve games, and things like that. They all know me and the senior players gave me a lot of encouragement. Again, that helps you to settle down and feel part of it.”

Fast-forward to the night of the Blackburn game and a signal to the bench from Reece James quickly became a frantic rush to get the young left back ready to enter the fray.

“I got a shout to go and have a quick run because I might have to go on, and I don’t remember too much else about that bit of it after that,” he said. “All I can say is I’ve never been as nervous in my life!

“Reece pointed at his thigh again and Kav [Graham Kavanagh] shouted at me that I was definitely going on. I can’t even explain how much the nerves were getting to me as I put my shirt on but, once I got out there and got my first touch, I just loved it. 

“I got on just before half time in the end and I think that helped. The gaffer and Kav had loads of encouraging words for me during the break and I’d calmed down a lot by then. I just wanted to get back out there and get on with the second half.”

Back onto the pitch and the decibel levels increased as the action flowed from end-to-end.

“You hear people saying that playing in front of a crowd like that is what it’s all about and I know what they mean now,” Patrick said. “The fans were great with me and I seemed to get a cheer every time I touched the ball. There was one occasion when I crossed the ball into the Warwick and they even cheered that!”

“When I put the pass through for David [Amoo] and he went on to score I didn’t know what to think or do,” he admitted. “It was a great goal and being involved in it was a fantastic feeling. A lot of the lads came over to me when we were celebrating and congratulated me for the part I’d played, so it was a really good moment.”

“I’ve had time to let it all sink in now and I think the way the club uses their youth players gives hope to us all,” he told us. “We’ve all watched the lads come through last season and then I’ve been handed my appearances when I’m still only a second year. It shows us that we just have to stick in and do what we’re asked to do and the rewards will be there."

On his debut in the left back role, he said: “I played at left midfield for the youth team last season but I usually play at left back more often than not for the reserves. I’m happy with both jobs so I don’t mind which I’m asked to do. 

“As you can probably imagine, just being involved means everything. Even with the penalties, as Dave Symington was walking up I started to think about what I’d do if it came down to me. I was eighth or ninth in the queue, or something like that, and it was nice of Danny Livesey and the other lads to say they were going before me.

“Fortunately I wasn’t needed in the end. When Dave put his into the roof of the net it all just went wild. The feeling of being part of a team to win a game like that was just ridiculous. We all ran up to him, the crowd were cheering and it was nice to be involved.”

“I was one of the first that everyone came to after the game,” he revealed. “The gaffer, the rest of the players and all of the coaching staff wanted to tell me that I’d done well. I didn’t get much sleep that night because all I could think about was the game and how it had gone for me.”

The morning after his senior debut brought a bump back down to earth as he was summoned back into work, as usual, to get on with his jobs with the rest of the youth team.

“The main message from everyone at the moment is for me not to start thinking that I’ve made it,” he said. “I know myself that I still have loads of work to do and it’s up to me to show everyone that I have the right attitude. 

“Obviously now that I’ve had a taste of it I would love to be involved more, but the important thing is that I keep doing the job as well as I can. Hopefully that’ll lead to more of the same.”

United Player subscribers can see a video interview with Patrick Brough now. Click HERE to go to the Player platform and follow the same link for more information on United Player, and to subscribe.
Read Time: 6 mins