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INTERVIEW: I've been really happy here

James Brown on extending his loan deal with United

5 January 2018

We spoke to defender James Brown on Thursday evening just after he had extended his loan deal from Millwall until the end of the season.

“I’m happy to get it all done,” he said. “We’ve all known at the club, and I’ve known for a while, that I was going to stay here, but from the outside looking in people might have thought I would be going elsewhere.

"I’m really happy to be here and I just want to continue playing football. There was interest from elsewhere but that didn’t turn my head, if I’m being honest. It’s nice to know that people are looking at you, but I’m still a teenager and I just need to play games.

"There was no point in going elsewhere and sitting there and not playing. I’ve been happy here and I’ve played over 20 games, so I can’t argue with that. Hopefully I can continue to help the team."

“There’s nothing better than playing football," he told us. "I probably could have stayed at Millwall and played U23s, or sat on the bench, but it isn’t the same as being out and playing for a men’s team. My best option was to stay here and continue fighting for my place and hopefully I’ll get more game time in the second half of the season.

“It’s nice to have the backing of the gaffer as well. I’ve obviously pleased him with how I’ve done so far, which is why he’s wanted me to stay. He’s been a big part in me wanting to stay here. I've enjoyed playing under the gaffer and I’m happy that it can continue.

“There have been changes in personnel and formation changes so I’ve had to adapt. I’ve been left out of the team a few times, which is going to happen in men’s football, because nobody is guaranteed a start.

"There will be times when you are disappointed, but you’ve just got to keep your head down and earn your place back, which I’ve had to do a couple of times already."

On what the staff at his parent club have said about the move, he commented: “I have good channels of communication with the staff at Millwall, and with my U23 manager Kevin Nugent. I speak to him after every game, and I know they’re watching the games I play in, and my clips, and things like that.

"I get sent my own clips to watch and I think it’s important to watch myself back, and for Millwall to watch my performances, so they get an idea of how I’m developing.

“I knew I wasn’t going to play at Millwall this season so it was important for me to get out and get games. I needed to prove myself because I hadn’t played any first team games before this season.

"They're happy for me to stay here and continue to develop, and I’m happy to be here and play games. I just want to get as many games as I can under my belt between now and the end of the season and continue helping the team along the way."

But did the thought of the distance between his home base and Carlisle have any bearing on his decision making process in any way?

“I’ve talked about the distance before, and when I first come up it was daunting, but I’m living with a good group of lads in the house and we all get on well, which helps," he said. "In terms of lifestyle, it hasn’t really affected me too much, to be honest.

"I know my family aren’t too pleased at times when I can’t get home and see them, but as long as I’m playing football I'll go anywhere. 

“I think it’s important for any young player to get out and get game time. You aren’t going to prove yourself by playing two seasons of U23 football. It’s completely different, the games are different and the atmosphere is different, so I couldn’t recommend more highly to get out and play men’s games, at whatever level.

"It gives you a bit of realness and something to play for every week. That’s what I’ve been grateful for during the first half of the season while I’ve been here."

And on how much he'd learned from being in a first team environment, he told us: “Sometimes you can get caught up when you win and when you lose, but you’ve got to stay level-headed.

"There are outside influences at this level, in terms of fans and people who are interested in the club, which you don’t get at U23 level. You’ve just got to go out and do your job.

"Whether we win or lose, we know what we should be doing on the pitch, and whether you play or not is all down to whether you do what you’ve been told. There are times I’ve been dropped, but there are reasons behind everything and it’s a really big learning curve for a young player who hasn’t been in that situation before. As footballers that's part and parcel of the job and you’ve just got to get on with it.

“When you’re in a youth set up everyone has to mould things in a way to make sure players aren’t upset. First team level is different. We’ve had many chats in the changing room after games, and even after training sessions which haven’t gone well.

"Players and coaching staff will dig each other out but it’s healthy because everyone wants the best for each other. It’s nothing personal, it’s just the realities of men’s football. It’s good for me to see that, and if I get dug out or I need to dig someone out, I will do it. You’re all working towards the same thing and we all want the same results."

“Consistency is what we need as a team and as individuals now," he admitted. "It’s hard because we’ve had spells in games where we’ve been very good, but we haven’t killed teams off, but there have also been games where we’ve just been poor from the get-go.

"Consistency is what we’re lacking at the moment. We’ve shown in glimpses that on our day we can be one of the best teams in the league. We’ve been too inconsistent and there have been too many times where we haven’t done that.

"Everyone is working hard to try and get that consistency because we know it only takes a run to really push yourself up the table, because it’s so tight."

Ahead of the Emirates FA Cup game against Sheffield Wednesday at Brunton Park, he said: “The FA Cup games do have that extra buzz. I think it will be nice to take our mind off the league a bit, and we'll have a bit of freedom to go and play.

"With Sheffield Wednesday being a team from a higher division it gives us something to test ourselves against. The players will relish the challenge and we know the pressure is off a little bit, and we’ve done well in those situations so far this season."

So what next, after the season with United draws to a close?

“I’ve had a lot of discussions with staff and players at Millwall and I want to go back there, as long as my form is good and I don’t get injured or anything like that, as a young pro with some experience," he said. "To go back there after getting 35-40 games under my belt is my aim, and that would put me in a really good position to go into next season and see what happens.

"That’s all I’m hoping for. I’ve obviously got to play well to keep my place in the team, but if I do that it will mean that hopefully I can get near the 40 appearances mark, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more from the season than that.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with James Brown on iFollow United now.   
 
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