Under-19 defender discusses his development as a footballer
- An interview with Under-19 defender Neo Eccleston
- Right back discusses importance of varied training
- Neo explains how he is helping his younger colleagues
Huddersfield Town Academy defender Neo Eccleston is expecting a competitive game when the Young Terriers travel to face Lincoln City in the Youth Alliance League on Saturday.
Neo, 17, is a second-year scholar, but has frequently played with his younger Under-17 colleagues this season to add a year’s experience to the side.
“When you come here in your first year, you’re not used to the style as everyone is coming from another environment,” Neo explained. “You really have to listen to understand how the team plays. We want to get the ball down and play, and it’s about learning that in your first year.
“Now I’m in my second year, the training reassures me on what I have to do. I settled in well last year and now, I’m completely focused. I’m not really going back to London; this is where I am.
“I can see the younger players have a lot of potential, but sometimes they need encouragement and help. You can’t expect to know the system completely after one month, so when I play with them, I can help with some little instructions and encouragement.
“I know from our first year that it can be a hard start, so I’m trying to help them get through it.”
The Academy uses the Youth Alliance League games to put the lessons they’ve learned in training during the week into practise, whilst the Cup fixtures are targeted as competitions to win. Neo explained the difference between the two from a players’ perspective.
“With the Clarets Cup, for example, there is more pressure to win and make the final. Through the week the training and analysis focuses on what we have to do for that match. We watch the presentations and know what our jobs are, to ensure there are no slip-ups.
“In some other matches, the environment can be different. We’re working on our attacking play and passing in training right now.”
As for Lincoln, Neo believes that the young side have to rely on those lessons to perform against what could be an older opposition side.
He continued: “They’re a team that is always up for it and looking to beat us. It’s a competitive game and they’re always a challenge. They sometimes have the physical edge, so for smaller players - like me – it’s about using your brain as well as your body. I have to find other ways, although I’m always there in the physical challenges!”
Eccleston joined from the Chelsea Academy in 2020 and was actually a teammate of current First Team loanee Levi Colwill!
“He was in the football year above me, but we were both born in 2003. It’s crazy – we went on tours to other countries and were roommates! He’s now come to Huddersfield a year after me and it’s great to see my friend doing well in the First Team.”