Ryheem goes back to school with the Stones
Fulham youngster is learning fast at Grosvenor Vale
FULHAM youngster Ryheem Sheckleford’s loan spell at Wealdstone is almost like being back in the school playground again.
The 19-year-old has gone from playing underunder-23 football for the Cottag Cottagers, with its emphasis on individual devel development, to Conferenc erence South football with the Stones, where resu results and points rule. It It’s like the old days of lunchtime football wit with mates and jumpers for goalposts, an and Sheckleford admits the adjustment is proving a throw- back. “It is a new thing to play for points again,” he said. “Under-23s is still competitive, but you can’t really compare it to league football – this is more of a men’s game.
“In under-23s, people are still growing and still learning the game, whereas here everyone is doing whatever it takes to win.”
Sheckleford, contracted to the Whites until the end of the season, is proving a fast learner, picking up a man of the match award in last week’s FA Trophy replay win over Maidenhead before helping the Stones’ rearguard to a rare clean sheet as they beat East Thurrock 1-0 on Saturday to end a run of three successive league defeats.
The London-born youngster says everything about his first taste of men’s football is fast, meaning decision-making is top of his learning curve.
“The first thing that comes to mind would probably be decisionmaking,” he said. “In the under-23s we look to play more short passes to the guy next to you. Here it is more, if it is not on, you have got to be more direct and play forward quicker.
“You’re playing more back to front and getting less time to make a decision. So it is also about knowing the time in a game when you might have to play in behind more.”
Fellow loanee, Accrington’s Liam Goulding, scored the decisive goal against East Thurrock, the second game in a row he has struck the winner – a perfect birthday present for manager Gordon Bartlett.
The on-loan pair have been joined by a third Football League player this week, with Wycombe Wanderers’ Nick Freeman making his debut in the East Thurrock win.
All three will be in contention for Saturday’s home tie with Wingate & Finchley in the FA Trophy first round proper, a game which will see the return to Grosvenor Vale of former fans’ favourite Sean Cronin.
THE REAL DEAL: Ryheem Sheckleford Picture: Alan Palmer