I was a lot more relaxed walking into Watford FC Training Grounds in my second week of the trial. I knew I was up for the challenge to fight for a position in the reserve team.
Like always, I continued to arrive to training early every morning. Never would I have expected that this would end in, Premier League Striker, Troy Deeney sitting next to me for a chat. As a young player, having a professional of Troy’s esteem asking me about where I am from and all things football, gave me a lot of inspiration. I will always look back on that situation with a great deal of gratitude towards Troy for giving me both football and real life advice that will guide me for years to come.
Week 2 was another intense week on the field, lead by the Under 23s Coach Hayden Mullins alongside the Strength and Conditioning Coach Lee Morgan. They had most of us boys running so hard we felt sick but I was feeling fitter and stronger than ever.
The week only got better as it continued. Watford’s Centre Back, Younes Kaboul, began giving me lifts to and from training as we were staying at the same hotel. Receiving some tips about the game from someone who has played at the highest level was a huge opportunity that I hold dearly.
Towards the end of the week the coach arranged an individual meeting will all of the players including myself… and oh man did the stomach knots return. I didn’t know what the decision on my future at the club would be but I was confident with how I had trained and played in the short time I had spent there.
We spent the first few minutes talking about myself but I got down to business very quickly.
This was something that I look back on and think about, knowing that everything happens for a reason and trusting in the process of whatever my future holds.
Hayden said to me plain and simply: they would not be signing me.
I have never been hit with devastation in an exact moment like that before.
I truly appreciated that after the decision had been made, Hayden paused to speak to me about continuing to chase my goals. He said if my desire and attitude I demonstrated in my two-and-a-half weeks with the club continued I was capable of playing football at whatever level I set my heart on.
Returning to the hotel, packing my backs, and jumping back on the train towards West London, like the day I landed, I was flooded in mixed emotions.
It was a dream of mine to be a part of a team like Watford FC and although it was only a few weeks I learnt so much about not only football but also about what it takes to be a professional on and off the field. I will always be so grateful and cherish the opportunity Watford FC gave me, and I will continue to work to return one day.
Onwards and upwards! It is so crazy to reflect on this time… For what feels like a lifetime a go was only just over one year a go.
Next stop. Millwall FC.