Lap­worth hop­ing to keep learn­ing in bid to join pro­fes­sional ranks

Gloucestershire Echo - - SPORTING INDEX -

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.”

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