A week into his two week industry work placement, Rio Fox sits down with Daegan for an interview about his experience so far, his footballing journey and his future aspirations. Read the full interview below:
So Rio, talk to us about why you chose Future Football Elite for your two week industry experience placement?
I chose FFE for my 2 weeks of work experience to gain experience as a coach and within football development. I'm still actively pursuing a career in professional football, but if not i wanted to gain experience in other aspects of the game as a potential other opportunity.
You’ve known our Academy Manager, Dan for a long time, talk to us about the influence/support he’s had on your football development?
Dan has helped developed me massively as a footballer and as a person, he was my coach me during my first year at the Norwich City academy which was probably my most important season. He built me up with lots of confidence and helped me mentally to be the best I possibly could. That season I won players player of the season and he was a massive part in me winning this award.
What was your experience of Academy football like?
The first 3 years of my academy experience were brilliant. Unfortunately during my U14 season i picked up an injury which ruled me out for the entire season, this then led to a huge period of inactivity that ended up lasting through until my U16 season. I hated not being able to get fit and never being able to get through one game without having the same reoccurring injuries.
So whilst i had some amazing early years at the club, the latter part was such a challenge for me mentally. The support of my mum and dad & the academy physio's during this time was crucial to me not giving up hope.
You’ve been fortunate enough to experience many great things through football, tell us about some memorable moments/experiences?
Through football I have been on two tours to Austria and Germany where I stayed with a host family and it was the experience of a life time. I also got to go to a premier league tournament where I played Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester Utd and teams from abroad like Porto, Genk and other European teams.
You’ve just completed your first week here at FFE, tell us what you think about what we do?
I think the setup here and the way the sessions are coached are really good and well thought out. Sessions are set out with a clear objective like this week we have been doing 1v1 and 2v2’s with the sessions focusing on this clearly and the coaches reinforcing the message of trying these things in training and in match play.
As you will have seen, we have its of talented young footballers here at FFE, what advice would you give them moving forwards?
There are lots of talented players at FFE and my advice going forward as a young footballer myself would be just to enjoy the game you are playing. There are now many ways into professional football so keeping having fun, working hard and listening to your coaches.
You’ve been fortunate to work with some talented coaches, can you give us some examples of things they have said or done that have helped or inspired you?
Working with Adrian Forbes and him telling me experiences of him with professional football and how his injuries have effected him in later life and him always telling me to do my rehab and work hard and something good will happen and that has helped me massively in order to stay healthy and also hopefully get back to full fitness soon.
I've already spoke about how Dan helped me in my early years at the academy, pushing me to work hard and develop in key areas, giving my advice on how to improve to get to the next level and filling me with confidence in my ability.
I worked for two seasons with Matt Wright, who was in charge of the Youth Development Phase at the time. I will always remember him being brilliant with me, supporting me and motivating me to be the best i can be. In games, he would be very clear with his instructions to players and the team, making it easy to understand what he expected of us all.
From a players perspective, whats the most enjoyable thing about a training session?
Training is most enjoyable for me when everyone is working as hard as possible to be the best and the tempo is high as possible because this is when everyone develops the most.
And equally, what did you/do you dislike about training?
There is nothing worse than when sessions aren’t game realistic, like using lots of mannequins as false players rather than going 1v1 up against each other. Sessions where the coach constantly stops and starts the session rather than talk to you individually also aren't fun to be part of.
And finally, your currently at DESA, talk to us about why you chose them to support the next steps in your footballing journey.
I chose DESA when left school and the Academy as my next step as i was really impressed with the whole setup. The coaching is top class, the expectations on each player to combine being a student and an athlete pushes us to excel in all areas.
The fixture programme is also highly competitive which i love and am very much looking forward to being part of when i'm fully fit.
And also they have a track record of supporting players at the end of their journey either into professional football, Scholarships to America, University or employment.
Thanks Rio, a brilliant insight into a young footballers journey, with some brilliant take home messages for our young players here at FFE. We hope you enjoy your final weeks work experience here at FFE.