KEEPER CHRISTY GETS HIS TASTE OF LIFE WITH THE LIONS

Ex­eter teenager helps out Eng­land

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Sam El­liot

HE’S the last line of de­fence for the side prop­ping up the Foot­ball League. To make mat­ters worse, the club this teenager has the pres­sure of play­ing in goal for is the club he’s sup­ported and played for all his life. And the sta­dium? He lives op­po­site it.

Some­times there feels like no es­cape. So in­ter­na­tional week could have been a pe­riod for quiet re­flec­tion, or a size­able amount of sulk­ing.

Not for Christy Pym, the much talked-about Ex­eter City prospect. In­stead of stew­ing on City’s prob­lems, he spent his time mak­ing his de­but for his coun­try and was even called up to train with Eng­land’s se­nior squad.

The Gre­cians' glove­man, 19, was work­ing with Joe Hart, Wayne Rooney and Ra­heem Ster­ling in the build-up to win­ning his first cap for the Three Lions' U20 side in the white­wash of Ro­ma­nia.

Not a bad few days’ work for a keeper who would have oth­er­wise been think­ing of how he’s go­ing to be keep­ing his beloved club from slip­ping back into the Con­fer­ence.

Ner­vous

Pym, City’s player of the month for Au­gust, ex­plained: “It’s fair to say it wasn’t your every­day ex­pe­ri­ence, or your ev­ery day week, es­pe­cially with Ex­eter not hav­ing the best time at the mo­ment.

“While I was at St George’s Park pre­par­ing for the U20 game I was asked if I would help the se­nior squad out, you can imag­ine what my an­swer was! I was a lit­tle bit ner­vous as you would ex­pect.

“But I had noth­ing to lose re­ally, I was a kid up from Ex­eter City and they are ob­vi­ously global stars and I was in­vited to help them out. You can’t re­ally lose, what’s the point of wor­ry­ing?

“I was work­ing with Joe Hart for a time and helped with shoot­ing prac­tice as well. Try­ing to block shots from the likes of Wayne Rooney, Danny Wel­beck and Ra­heem Ster­ling, I didn’t want to let in too many but at the same time I didn’t want to be keep­ing them all out!

“It was a bit dif­fer­ent from what I am used to. As I ex­pected they were all very, very good but nice as well – re­ally wel­com­ing.”

Train­ing was prob­a­bly more daunt­ing for Pym than his first game for his coun­try.

In­tro­duced as a sub­sti­tute for the fi­nal ten min­utes of the 6-0 vic­tory against Ro­ma­nia, he wasn’t alone. Ex­eter team­mate and mid­fielder Matt Grimes set up Eng­land’s sixth as Aidy Boothroyd’s men ran riot in Telford. It was the for­mer Wat­ford man­ager’s first game, a per­fect start.

“I didn’t have too much to do when I came on, but I’ll take a clean sheet on my in­ter­na­tional de­but!” he added.

“It was a great ex­pe­ri­ence to be in­volved. The whole week, be­ing away at the team ho­tel and savour­ing the at­mos­phere of what it is like in in­ter­na­tional foot­ball.

“Hav­ing two team meet­ings ev­ery day and plan­ning what you are do­ing with your time, it was a real eye opener. I’d love it to be the start of some­thing reg­u­lar but I am happy to take small steps.

“I haven’t ac­tu­ally re­ceived my Eng­land cap yet. The FA tell me it will be sent in the post in a few weeks. I’m sure my fam­ily have their eyes on it, but it’s some­thing I am go­ing to trea­sure for the rest of my life.”

Ex­eter man­ager Paul Tis­dale is not cur­rently en­joy­ing his own ride. Pres­sure, un­like St James Park crowds, is start­ing to grow. Gates are down so much, City chiefs have slashed prices, but the na­tives are be­com­ing no­tice­ably rest­less – and some want the Foot­ball League’s longest­serv­ing man­ager gone after eight years.

“I’ve been in­volved with the club since the age of eight, so I un­der­stand the frus­tra­tion at the re­sults I re­ally do,” Pym added.

“I grew up ev­ery day look­ing out of my win­dow and see­ing the sta­dium – I al­ways wanted to play for the Gre­cians. That’s how close I am. I have al­ways been foot­ball mad and al­ways fol­lowed the club. I think that helps your foot

ball, but you do take it to heart when things aren’t go­ing your way, as it’s your team.

“Some of my fam­ily support Manch­ester United, and I was in the crowd the day Ex­eter played them in the FA Cup. I’ve grown up watch­ing the club, and I have seen for my­self what Paul has done for us. He’s a great man­ager, and I know how hard he works.

“He’s given youth a chance, and that in­cludes me. So I owe him and I’m de­ter­mined to make sure we climb the ta­ble, we all are.

“We need to get that first win and kick on from there. No­body is even think­ing about a re­turn to the Con­fer­ence, it’s far too early for all that.We know we are good enough to stay in League Two.

“Torquay and Bris­tol Rovers went down last sea­son, and we don’t want to go the same way. They’re lo­cal to us, so we know all about it. We’ve got to keep our­selves in the Foot­ball League and I’m sure we will.”

PIC­TURES: Pin­na­cle

PRO­TEGE: Christy Pym play­ing for Ex­eter City

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