Ry­heem goes back to school with the Stones

Ful­ham young­ster is learn­ing fast at Grosvenor Vale

Harefield Gazette - - SPORT - by Jon Batham tms-sport@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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

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