Rochdale Academy youngster Luke Matheson has been telling iFollow what it’s like to train with the first team.
The 15-year-old, who still has another year to wait once this campaign is out before he can start a Youth Team Scholarship, has been in and around the first team environment throughout the season, joining up with the senior squad during school holidays.
“It’s quite a bit different because everyone is quite a bit bigger than me. That’s physically and in the sense that players are a lot more adapted to the environment than me, so they know what they’re doing,” said Matheson as he spoke about his experiences.
“It’s a big step-up, only last year I was still with the under 15s, but I’m really enjoying it because I’m learning a lot faster. I’m learning while playing in training from the players and I’m learning from different coaches.
“I’m learning a lot of different things about my position, like what I can do and what I can’t get away with at different levels of football. There’s things that I might be able to do with the U15s or with the Youth Team that I can’t do here because the players are better, stronger and faster.”
And Luke says he’s not had preferential treatment just because he’s still only 15.
“All the first team players have looked after me and they’ve welcomed me in. They still foul me sometimes and let me know that they’re there, and I like that because it’s better than them treating me like a kid!
“Playing for the first team is where I want to be in the future, so I want to experience everything, not just half of it.”
The talented right-back has impressed all season while playing up two age groups for the Youth Team, something that he says he enjoys.
“Playing for the Youth Team brings in a competitive aspect of football. When you play at under-15 and under-16 levels, the games you play in are just friendly games because they are all about developing you as a player.
“With the youth team, there’s something to win so it makes you play better and think about what you do in the game.”
Watch the full interview on iFollow.