Lapworth hoping to keep learning in bid to join professional ranks
YOUNG Cheltenham Town goalkeeper Freddie Lapworth has already been on the bench for the first team and at just 16, is highly rated as a potential star of the future.
Here the former Oxford United youngster, who hails from Banbury, discusses life in the Robins’ academy, being involved with the senior squad and his hopes for the future...
» How are you finding life at Cheltenham Town?
I HAVE to say that I am loving life at Cheltenham. Since day one everyone has made me feel at home and it’s a great environment to be in. I look forward to training and being in every day.
» When did you join the club and which other clubs have you been with?
I FIRST joined the club towards the end of January which was when I was a trialist, thanks to Antoine (Thompson, academy manager) and Pete (Haynes, senior professional development phase coach). I then signed my scholarship towards the end of last season. Previously I was at Oxford United for six and a half years, leaving just before Christmas.
» What was it like being on the bench for the first team in the Checkatrade Trophy?
BEING on the bench was an amazing experience, as soon as I got the call I couldn’t have been more excited and thankful. Luckily Antoine was on hand to drop me off at the game. The feeling of being involved in a professional game was something that I’ve always dreamed about. It was a proud moment for me and my parents who have supported me so much over the years.
» How much have you trained with Scott Flinders and Rhys Lovett and do they offer you much advice?
I WAS lucky enough to spend quite a bit of preseason training with both Scott and Rhys, especially at Champneys. The advice that I’ve learned from off both keepers has been a great help such as little footwork changes or adjusting my body for a certain shot type which I feel has added something extra to my game and I am very grateful for this.
» How much do you enjoy working with Gary Baines in training?
I LOVE working with Bainesy, every session is enjoyable no matter what. Not only is he a great coach, but also a great character around the training ground. I feel in such short time I’ve learnt so much that it’s given me a confidence that I haven’t felt before. Also, we just have a great time, there’s a great balance between banter and hard work.
» Have you done much work with Steve Book?
SO far, I’ve worked quite a bit with Booky, first thing preseason I had a session with himself, Scott and Rhys. The advice that I have received from him has been very useful. Its very interesting to see the transition from u18s to professional men’s football and I feel that he has helped bridge that gap in training and has been extremely helpful in developing that area of my game.
» Who is your favourite goalkeeper of all time and why?
THAT a difficult question as there are so many I look up to for different reasons. I used to love watching Joe Hart when he was unstoppable at Manchester City and now I enjoy watching David De Gea for the unbelievable saves he makes. However, my all-time favourite keeper has to be either Iker Casillas or Edwin van der Sar who are both class keepers.
» What’s been your best or most important save so far?
THERE are a few I could choose for different reasons, I enjoyed my double save against Forest Green, even though the second was with my face. Pete highlighted the importance of one of my saves against Bristol Rovers, however my favourite was a save from a header against my former team Oxford united and one of my former team mates. It was a great feeling.
» What do you enjoy doing outside of football?
I ENJOY going to the gym. Some days I also go into town with a few lads in the team which is always fun. I enjoy spending time with my family whenever I travel back home on weekends.
» Best mate at Cheltenham Town?
THIS is a difficult one as they are such a great bunch of lads. I’m very close with the defenders naturally, however I’d have to say either Ioan Richards or Tom Handley.
» Senior player who you look up to most?
THERE are a few who I look up to. Scott Flinders is a great role model and I have learned quite a lot off and is a great professional. I also admire Johnny Mullins professionalism and leadership. Finally. Chris Hussey’s desire is a trait which I would like to learn from.
» What are your aims and ambitions in football?
TO become a professional and compete at the highest level possible.
» What the coaches say - Gary Baines, academy goalkeeping coach:
“FREDDY has started his scholarship with an incredible attitude and a great work ethic. He is a fantastic person to train, coach and just be around.
“He is always looking to improve his goalkeeping. Throughout the summer help me coach the YDP age group academy goalies which says a lot about his willingness to learn and improve.
“Freddie has excellent distribution, superb handling, big and powerful, definitely a presence in goal.
“He has settled into the scholarship programme well and is a valuable member of the team. We have high hopes for Freddie. Hopefully he continues to learn and improve over the next two years.”
» Pete Haynes:
“FRED came in as an Under-16 after leaving Oxford and he’s been fantastic, He went away with the first team in pre-season and has been involved with them and the reserves this season.
“He is one of the grafters around the training ground and is always in early, setting a great example.”