Young midfielder enjoying his new life in West Yorkshire
- Interview with Under-17 midfielder Jaheim Headley
- Londoner enjoying his new life at Huddersfield Town
- Young Terrier discusses experience of time in Portugal
Jaheim Headley is hoping Town’s Under-17 side can cap off qualification to the knockout stages of the Clarets Cup with a top performance in the final group stage game against Fleetwood Town on Wednesday.
Headley and his teammates take on The Fishermen at PPG Canalside in a 1pm kick-off on Wednesday, with fans welcome to attend free of charge.
The game – the penultimate fixture of 2018 for Dean Whitehead’s age group – is the final group stage fixture of the U17 Clarets Cup competition, with Town already qualified for the knockouts thanks to wins over Burnley, Preston North End and Salford City.
Headley has been a regular feature in midfield for every game, netting four goals in 17 starts for the Under-17s this season after joining the Club from Mass Elite Academy in London during the summer.
For someone who only turned 17 in September, Jaheim has adapted quickly to life away from the capital, as he explained to htafc.com.
“It was pretty challenging when I first came in. I had to quickly get familiar with the area. I had to get up early to get the bus in from where I live, as they’re not as frequent as in London!
“The style of life up here is quite different; there are fewer people and I’m up in the hills, so it’s quite cold! I’m OK with it now though.”
As well as everyday life, he freely admits that the step-up to a professional Academy setup was a big change for him too.
“It’s a whole different tempo, and much more demanding. Before, playing against my age group, I was ahead of the others, but now we play against older players and I’ve got some catching up to do.
“I see myself as a versatile player; I know how to play a few different roles now. I’m getting better, particularly in my game understanding and on the tactical side.
“The whole group has a good understanding of the ‘Terriers Identity’ now too. There’s a lot of detail to it. I remember the coach (Leigh Bromby) asking the wingers to come inside and it was totally different to anything they had done before; they were still staying outside, for example. Now we understand and we’re beginning to play well.”
His performances for Whitehead’s men has also earned him opportunities at Under-19 level. He’s made five appearances for Mark Hudson’s group this season too, including a start against SC Braga as part of the trip to Portugal in September.
“I was pretty surprised!” Jaheim said of getting the nod for the trip. “The call came at late notice, on the Friday ahead of travelling on Sunday. Luckily, I had my passport up here!
“When I got out there, I was nervous for the first match. However, the squad really helped me settle in.
“Again, that was a real challenge physically. It was a lot more demanding.”
⚽️ A good week for #htafc's U17s, with strong performances & wins over their counterparts from Manchester United & Salford City— HTAFC Academy (@htafcacademy) December 3, 2018
💻 Here are the #YoungTerriers goals from those wins!
1⃣ @JHeadleyOne vs Man Utd
2⃣ @MDiaby_5 vs Man Utd
3⃣&4⃣ @KianHarratt vs Salford
The Clarets Cup is the only competition in which the Under-17s face players of their own age, with regular weekend matches in the Youth Alliance League coming against Under-18 teams.
Jaheim concluded: “What ‘Deano’, ‘Brombs’ and ‘Huddy’ have taught us really works against people our age. There’s always the physical struggle against the older players, but against teams our own age we’ve been very good against a lot of teams.
“It would be nice to finish things off well against Fleetwood tomorrow.”