Flame-haired midfielder on his first senior outings...SADDLERS’ latest debutant Reece Flanagan has spoken of his delight at finally making his first senior appearance for the club.
The 19 year-old came on as a second half substitute in our 0-0 draw with Leyton Orient last Saturday before again appearing off the bench in our Capital One Cup defeat to Crystal Palace.
“It was great to get on the pitch to finally make my debut for the club,” he said. “I was already having a jog down the line when the Gaffer called me over to tell me I was going on so I didn’t have too much time to think about it.
“I was thrown in the deep end but I thought I put in a good performance so it stands me in good stead for the rest of the season.”
Having graduated from the clubs esteemed Academy, Flanagan is the latest starlet to make the step up to the senior squad, following in the footsteps of fellow graduates Liam Kinsella and Amadou Bakayoko.
“Obviously it wasn’t great to come on against Crystal Palace when we were already 3-0 down,” he admitted. “We are all disappointed with the result but at least I managed to run out in front of the home support and try to affect the game.”
The Birmingham-born midfielder featured heavily during pre-season after gaining valuable first-team experience whilst on loan to Leamington last season.
With the likes of Jake Heath and Liam Roberts currently enjoying loan spells at Rushall Olympic, Flanagan feels his experience in the Conference North during the last campaign only served to aid his progress.
“I found myself up against physical teams with different styles of play and different tactics to what I am used to so it was a challenge,” he added. “It was a real learning curve but I felt I done really well and managed to get on the score sheet a few times as well which was pleasing.”
Now back with The Saddlers, the flamed-haired teen is hoping to push for a starting berth as the season progresses and has paid homage to the club's development programme.
“This club puts a lot of confidence in you as a young player," he said without hesitation. "The environment is great and you will always get an opportunity here. It’s a great place to develop your game and come through the ranks.
“The next target for me is to be starting more games rather than coming off the bench to try and influence games.
“That will ultimately be down to the gaffer and his team selection but I will always be ready to play."
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