The loan signing of attacking midfielder Sonny Hilton from newly promoted Fulham has been one of this summer’s worst kept secrets, with this interview done over a fortnight ago as we all then waited for the necessary clearances to kick in.
That aside, what was (and is) absolutely clear is that the 21-year-old is more than happy with this next step in his career, albeit almost as far away from his parent club as he could possibly get within the English game.
“It was a good journey up, it only took two hours, so it’s not that far from home,” he said, reminding us that his base is down in the Liverpool area. “I’m here now and looking forward to getting on with it more than anything, really.”
And an added bonus is that he’s worked with our current manager previously, within the England set-up.
“I’ve been coached by Simmo before, which is good,” he confirmed. “There were a few quick calls and I was more than happy to do this.
“He said that he wanted me in at this club and I’m really pleased that I’m here. I’ve had a little insight of how he is and I suppose he knows what it is I can do, and what I’m about.
“Having played for him before he knows what I can do as a player, both on and off the pitch, and I just want to be playing football.
“I really want to show what I can do in the league and Simmo has given me a big chance to do that.”
Clearly a player who wants to be kicking on, his move from the Wirral to London, and subsequently to Fulham, suggests a young man who isn’t content with resting on his laurels.
“To be fair, it wasn’t too bad moving to London because my mum is from there, so there was family down in the area, which helped a lot,” he revealed.
“It’s good, it’s different. It’s a whole different city from Liverpool as well, obviously, but it’s been well worth the journey.
“I remember as I was in school when I was getting told about it, and I was thinking how do I react, do I say something right now, or do I wait until later.
“It was exciting, and when what was happening sunk in I was made up.”
So how much has he learned about himself with his move to the Big Smoke and over to Finland?
“It’s been big for me, really big,” he admitted. “I’ve learned a lot about myself as a player and as a person.
“I know now that I can move to a big city or to a small town and just be me. When I got back to Fulham after being away I was made captain of the 18s and 23s, and hopefully I might get an armband here as well!
“Seriously though, I don’t mind saying a few things in the dressing room, which isn’t bad, even though it can get me in trouble. But I’m not afraid to do it.”
Expanding more on his trip into Europe, he told us: “I’d had a couple of injuries at Fulham, which played a part in the decision, because I knew I needed game time.
“I got that out there, which I was really happy about. The manager gave me a chance and I like to think that I took it.
“It gave me a real boost in confidence and it kicked off my season with Fulham, to be honest with you.
“I scored in my first game when I got back, and I ended up scoring on the first day of the season as well. That got us the win in a 4-3 game against Sunderland, which was big for the lads in the way we did it.
“It felt like I was an extra step ahead of everybody else in pre-season because I’d been playing through the summer. Having had those injuries it brought my confidence back, so that was good.”
And the good results kept flowing as the Cottagers went on to lift the Premier League 2 title.
“You couldn’t have written it any better,” he said. “I got to lift the trophy, which was even better, and I was really happy with how it all ended. Coming here now makes it all even better again.
“The staff at Fulham just want me to kick on as a player and show that I can compete in any league. I know I’m ready, definitely, and hopefully I’ll bring a bit of flair.
“It’s young blood coming into the team, as they say, and I’ll be fighting for a place. I just want to be playing my part in making sure we get a lot of results and that we’re winning.
“If we get to the end of the season and it says that Carlisle are going up then I’ll be more than happy.”
But what kind of player is he?
“I’m aggressive, energetic and I can do anything that I’m asked to do,” he told us.
“It’ll be good to meet everybody, but I’ve got a bit of a love-hate relationship with pre-season. You do either love it or hate it, and sometimes it’s a bit of both.
“I’m usually ok with the running - it depends how I get up in the morning!”
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