Tom Holland eyeing success with City and Ireland
- 09 October 2013 12:28
- Posted by @porter_mcfc
Yorkshire lad Tom Holland has crossed the Pennines to strive for success with City.
The 16-year-old is in now in his third year at the Academy, after beginning his footballing journey at Bradford City at the age of seven. After making the switch to Leeds at 11, he was plucked from the Elland Road outfit to join the Blues after three years.
Signing on as a first year scholar in July this year and taking his place in the under-18 squad, Tom has taken another vital step towards his dream of first team action.
He said: “My family were really proud, and it was a really exciting moment for me. There’s definitely a different atmosphere here than at Bradford or Leeds.”
Tom’s talent has been evident to the Academy staff for a long time, and he had already appeared for City under-18s while still eligible for the under-16 age group.
The midfielder has also made a bright start on the Irish international scene and was selected as part of the Ireland under-17s squad for a September friendly double header with Slovakia.
Tom came off the bench in the opening encounter and was rewarded for an impressive performance with a start in the subsequent fixture, when he unluckily had a goal ruled out for offside.
With valuable experience behind him, the youngster has plenty to look forward to in the 2013/14 campaign.
“I don’t have a set number of games I would like to reach,” he revealed. “I’d just like to play as much football as possible and play as well as I can. Hopefully, then things will happen.”
A midfielder who possesses great technical ability and the vision to pick out a great pass, the Ireland youth international is a valuable presence in the centre of the park, but is now aiming to get on the scoresheet more regularly.
“I work very hard and I think I read the game well, but I need to score more goals!” he laughed.
Tom’s skills make him well used to the role of provider for others, and he had the chance to demonstrate his ability to find the killer ball on live television in June 2012, when he headed to the Far East to represent the Blues abroad.
“My favourite game for City was when I went to Singapore with the under 15s to play in the Lion City Cup,” he recalled. “We beat Singapore 6-0 and I had two assists, and was the captain. It was live on Eurosport, and during the tournament I got to do a press conference too. It was a special experience.
“Going abroad to play in tournaments really benefits the squad because we get the opportunity to face different teams than usual.
"In Singapore, we played against Ajax, who are probably the best team I have ever faced and are really strong at our level."
“We also experienced different conditions to what we were used to because it was really hot and incredibly humid.”
City’s under-18s are under new management this term, giving Tom a chance to work with former England international winger, Jason Wilcox, and he is full of praise for his boss.
“I think Jason has helped me a lot in my position as a midfielder, especially in developing my game in a deep role,” he argued. “He also has very high standards, and is always telling us the importance of working hard.”
That attitude also manifests itself in training sessions, where a strong work ethic and a competitive spirit are essential.
“I really enjoy the games at the end, when we play 4v4 or 5v5,” Tom added. “Fridays are probably my favourite because there is a match the next day, so the games in training are very intense and competitive.”
Seventeen-year-old Marcos Lopes recently started the Capital One Cup clash for City against Wigan after repeatedly catching the eye in the Elite Development Squad under new boss, Patrick Vieira.
The opportunity afforded to the Portuguese youngster has given Tom, and his teammates, even more motivation to impress and move up to the next level at the club.
He explained: “It shows if you work hard and you’re good enough they are going to put you in there, it doesn’t matter if you’re young. We have the opportunity and it’s up to us to take it.”