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INTERVIEW: I'm out to repay the faith

Jack Armer on his new two-year deal

27 May 2021

Defender Jack Armer was another who had a flurry of contract activity at the end of the season when an activated clause – which kept him with the Blues until next summer – quickly developed into talks about a new deal.

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The i’s were dotted and the t’s crossed after a short period of negotiation, with the two-year contract signed, sealed and delivered by the left back shortly after the final ball had been kicked.

The 20-year-old, who left his hometown club Preston to join United last summer, started 16 of the 17 games through the run-in to the end of the last campaign, showing his versatility as he played a number of roles and established himself as a first-team regular.

Speaking about the new deal this week, he said: “It’s really good to have some security for two years. It’s the longest contract that I’ve had, but it just means I can give it my all and see where it takes me.

“It was one where we talked for a while but it all got sorted pretty quickly. We spoke about the option towards the end of the season, which got sorted, but the longer contract was done and dusted pretty quickly after that.

“I know it’s a really good opportunity for me. Compared to what I was doing last summer – I was training in a park, hoping for the best, and then the gaffer showed his faith in me when he offered me a deal.

“Since then I’ve had a run of games and the length of time is perfect for me, I think. Hopefully I can get 30 more games, if not 40 under my belt this year. I just want to keep improving. It’s been the longest contract I’ve had, it does show a bit of faith, and I’m out to repay that.”

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The reaction on social media to the news was extremely positive, something which wasn’t missed by the emerging fans’ favourite.

“It’s quite special,” he admitted. “I’ve only played in games where we’ve had fans in at Brunton Park three times, so I’m looking forward to them being here.

“Watching on iFollow, I don’t know what you can see and what you can’t, but you can’t view the whole pitch, so it’ll be good for them to see the work we all do. It is fantastic to have the reaction this has had from them, so I’ll have to make sure I give them something back next season.

“I’ve seen the manager talking about me as well. He mentioned about me leaving Preston and I know I’ve got to try and get back to the Championship and play at as high a level as I can.

“It does spur you on a little bit, you have got a point to prove, but for me personally at his stage of my career I just want to play as many games as possible and improve as fast as possible.”

With him having spoken about last summer, and the positive impact from the loan move to Lancaster City, he confirmed that there was still a feeling of trepidation as he found himself without a club.

“It was a bit of a tricky situation,” he commented. “I’d played 30-odd games in non-league but no-one really knew who I was. I’d sat on the bench once for Preston, but my name wasn’t really out there.

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“I heard there was a bit of interest from Carlisle, so I got on the phone and it went from there. Compared with this season, to be tied down for two years is a lot more comforting.

“What I will say is that my time at Lancaster was really good. I think you’ve got to go out on loan to play games and get used to men’s football. You learn how to use your body a lot more because it’s totally different to youth team football.

“You probably head the ball more times in a Lancaster game than you would in five youth games because it’s so physical, so it was really good for me. I think I played in every game apart from two before the season was curtailed.

“It was over 30 games for them, the manager trusted me, so even though I’m young I’ve already played 60 games, even though some were in non-league. That’s why I think it’s really good for young lads to get out and play against men.

“We had a good crack at it while I was there, ended up fourth or fifth, and then the season was finished, but it was a really enjoyable experience.

“Obviously we play them in pre-season and I actually spoke to a couple of the lads over the weekend, after they had messaged me. There’s a few of their fans that still message me now and again to see how I’m getting on. I think it’ll be a good game and I’m looking forward to going back.”

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Those with an eagle eye and a penchant for the sound of leather striking willow will have noticed that Penwortham Cricket Club have been making full use of his summer talents, with him having entered the annals of history on the Lancashire Bowling Honours Board with a quite stunning return of five wickets for just 14 runs in the first team’s mid-May encounter with Great Eccleston.

“I probably started playing first-team cricket for them three or four seasons ago,” he explained. “We won two weekends ago, but we got beat last Sunday.

“My dad played for Penwortham, I’ve been with them since I could bowl or bat, and I do enjoy the cricket.”

But did he ever feel the need to choose between the two disciplines?

“It got to about Under-13s, Under-14s, and I was still at Lancashire,” he told us. “Lancashire trained on the same nights as Preston trained, and it was then when I thought I’d have to give football a dabble. 

“It’s good to be able to play a game which takes your mind off things and relaxes you. It takes up your whole day, it’s a totally different changing room and they’re your mates at the end of the day.  

“It takes your mind off it and just relaxes you. I think I’ll probably get three more games in with them before we’re back to concentrating on the football again.”


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