Midfielder previews Wednesday’s U21 Play-Off Final
Danish midfielder Philip Billing is hoping Town’s Under-21s finish the season on a high by winning the Professional Development League 2 Play-Off Final at Swansea City on Wednesday night.
After a second placed finish in the northern table, the young Terriers defeated Crystal Palace in an action-packed semi-final to setup Wednesday evening’s 7.30pm kick-off at the Liberty Stadium.
No player has made more starts for Town’s Under-21s than Philip’s 34 this term and he’s keen to add a second title in as many years to his resume with victory over the Swans.
“It’s been a good season; I’ve really enjoyed it this year,” the Danish Under-19 international told htafc.com.
“We’ll go into Wednesday night’s game full of confidence. I think we will win if we perform like we can do; we just need to press them high and work hard for each other. If we do that, the result should take care of itself.
“I feel like we can go anywhere in the country and win if we play to our best. We’ve shown that at Under-18 level and most of the year at this level, beating the likes of Everton. It will be another great experience to play in a Premier League stadium this week.
“I’ll go back to Denmark to see my family in the summer and it would be great to return as a champion.”
Philip has worked under Senior Professional Development Coach Frankie Bunn during his two years at Huddersfield Town and was full of praise for his mentor:
“It’s great that the Under-21s have reached the final, because it shows that hard work pays off. We work very hard in training under Frankie Bunn. The things we do in training helps us during games, like a focus on pressing the opposition high up the pitch.
“He’s helped me so much, working with me defensively; he’s helped to make me a better player. I’m definitely a better player all-round than I was 12 months ago. I feel stronger and I’m running more during games. There’s still things I can work on though; I need to improve my heading and be more aggressive.”
Like the majority of Town’s young Development Squad, Philip – who is still just 18 years old – is in his first year as a professional.
Wednesday’s game will be a second Play-Off Final in as many years for Philip and his teammates, who won the Under-18’s PDL2 Final in May 2014 courtesy of a penalty shootout win over Crewe Alexandra at the John Smith’s Stadium.
“We know each other very well and we’re used to how each other plays, which is one of the reasons we’ve had so much success” Philip continued.
“As I’ve said, reaching the Play-Offs every year is proof that hard work pays off. Being in the finals at Under-18 level teaches you not to panic, but instead to keep calm and keep doing what you are good at.
“We just have to finish the job now.”
Of course, the ultimate goal for Philip and his colleagues is to break into Town’s First Team, as he explained:
“I would have loved to have played more First Team football, but I’ll keep working hard and hopefully that will come next season. I’ve been close a few times!
“Next season could be a big one for me, but I must keep working hard. That will start in pre-season and continue every day.
“It’s good that the Manager has given chances to my teammates like Joe (Wilkinson), Boyley (William Boyle) and Jake (Charles). He’s spoken with me as well, saying he won’t be afraid to use me if I keep working hard.”
Can’t make it to Wales on Wednesday night? Follow live updates of the game on Town’s Twitter account @htafcdotcom!