second leg. I came on but they were not sure I was fit enough to start the game and it was a bit of a blow. Chelsea have always had a good youth set-up as they’ve proved again this season.
Tell us about captaining both the Under-18 side and under-19 UEFA Youth League team this term…
I started off with the Under-18s and in the European league as well. When I was told I’d be captain before the first game, I thought it was a great honour. I hadn’t done it much before and I am quite inexperienced at it. Being given that responsibility meant I was able to give advice and encouragement on the pitch. It made me work harder, essentially, because, when you have got the armband on, you have that extra responsibility to shine.
Your speed makes you an obvious target for defenders. How do you handle any rough treatment?
I think, with the pace I’ve got, they must have some insight into my game beforehand, so I’ve just got to overcome that. If I get a knock, I must get back up and go again.
You have had your share of injuries this season. Are you still growing?
I think I’ve finished growing and 5ft 11in is going to be my height now. Hopefully, there will be no more injuries. I fractured my ankle a few years ago at Southampton and that was a bad one. It was weird as I’d never been out for that amount of time. It was hard because I was in the gym every day and not out on the pitch with the lads. So, I just knuckled down and got back fit as soon as possible.
How big a thrill was it to be on the first-team bench at Newcastle?
It was great experience being with the team and learning how to act around the hotel by being professional. Even the warm-up was different – I was out there with Nemanja Vidic and Tom Cleverley. When you’re warming up for the Reserves, there are not usually thousands of people around.