Millwall-loanee James Brown has taken to League Two football like a duck to water since joining the Blues on a half-season loan spell towards the end of August, and his performances with United went a long way to helping him earn his new deal with the Lions which keeps him at the New Den until at least the summer of 2020.
Speaking to the official site about putting pen-to-paper with his parent club earlier this week, he said: “It was good to get it all done. It had been sitting there for a while but now it’s over the line it gives me a chance to concentrate on my football.
“I know I have the security of Millwall in the background, but I just want to carry on doing well with Carlisle at the moment. The challenge I was given was to prove myself here and I think I’ve done that a little bit. Now I want to do as much as I can to get the club up to where it should be.”
Having shown patience before working his way to becoming a regular choice for the right back slot, he told us: “I’m really grateful for the fact that if it hadn’t gone well here I probably wouldn’t have got the new contract with Millwall. Playing regularly here has definitely worked in my favour and I have to say thank you to the manager for the opportunity he’s given me.
“There are a lot of young players I know who just need this kind of opportunity to express themselves, within a first team environment, so that they can go on to do what I’ve done. I’m really grateful to Carlisle because I’m one of the lucky ones who has been given the chance and, like I say, I have to thank the gaffer for that.
“I’d recommend going out on loan to every young player, wherever they are. Under-23 football is good for a year or so, to help to bridge the gap between youth and men’s football, but once you’re comfortable with that there’s no reason for you to keep doing it.
“You need to get out and play games at a level that’s comfortable for you. That’s where you learn because you’re in front of fans and you’re playing for something that matters. I’d recommend it massively because it’s the only way you’re going to progress, particularly if you’re with a bigger club, like I am.
“It isn’t often that you just walk into a team at a club like that, so you need to get the experience somehow. That’s what I’ve been able to do here. It’s good that Millwall have recognised what I’m doing but I know there’s still a long way for me to go yet. The message there is that I need to keep doing what I’m doing and more rewards will come.”
So has he been surprised at how quickly he’s made an impact up here at Brunton Park?
“I don’t think anyone I’ve worked with within football will be surprised that I’ve taken this chance,” he commented. “A lot of people have backed and helped me for such a long time. Personally, in terms of how quickly I’ve settled, I would say I’ve surprised myself.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always believed in my ability and that I’ve been good enough to do it. I knew I just needed the chance to prove it. Carlisle have given me that and that’s why I’m determined to do the best I can for them.”
And United manager Keith Curle has made no secret of the fact that he would be keen to keep the Dover-born defender up here for the second half of the season, if an agreement can be reached, with suggestions that the player has been locked into the boot of his car to keep him away from prying eyes.
“It’s not bad in there – a bit dark and damp maybe,” Brown confirmed. “it’s one of those situations where we’ll just have to see where it all goes. There are a lot of factors involved, but I’ve enjoyed my time massively here and I’d love it to continue.
“I’m playing games and that’s the main thing. I could try and go somewhere else, but would that be to just sit on a bench? You have to evaluate what’s best for you and at the moment I’m more than happy to be here. Like I say, we’ll just have to wait and see because there are quite a few factors involved in it all.”
Saturday takes the 19-year-old back to his home stomping ground and to the club who gave him his first opening in the game when he was still a schoolboy.
“I had a bit of a smile on my face when the draw was made because it’s the closest team to where I’m from,” he admitted. “I was there when I was younger for a while, so it’ll be nice to go back there. I’d love to turn them over, but we’ll have to see what happens on the day.
“It was the first professional environment I was in and I enjoyed the opportunity they gave me. I’ve explained why it didn’t work out with them before, so it’ll be good to play against them, if the gaffer decides to select me.
“I imagine quite a few of my family and friends will travel up from Dover and that’ll be nice for them because they don’t get to see me play every week. Hopefully I’ll be involved at some point and they’ll get to see me out on the pitch.”
And having tasted the senior competition for the first time this season, he said: “It’s been a good experience. As you’re growing up you think about all the competitions you could play in and the FA Cup springs to mind straight away.
“The chance to go on to play against some of the best players in the country is what motivates you. You want the opportunity to prove yourself against players like that.
“The competition definitely has its own vibe. You know it’s a one-off when you go out there and the rewards can be massive at the end of it. It’s nice to have a break from the league in terms of that, but you know that it’s literally winner takes all. That’s why you have to go all-out to win.
"In terms of me gaining more experience I’m new to the men’s game so it’s nice to play in different competitions and find out what they’re all like.”
Click HERE to watch an interview with James Brown on iFollow United now.