Jeffery Forkuo

Forkuo's first team dream

Saturday’s pre-season opener with Plymouth Parkway was a success on a number of levels, but for second year scholar Jeffery Forkuo, it was an extra special day.

The 17-year-old played the second half of the Greens’ 2-2 draw with their city neighbours and grabbed an assist for skipper Joe Edwards in the final few minutes.

“It was good,” Jeff said, speaking after the match, “obviously we wanted the win, but it is good to get a runout for the first-team and I thought It was a good game.”

Although Saturday wasn’t Jeff’s first team debut, it was the first time he had experienced a matchday with the full squad.

He made his first team bow last season, in a pre-season fixture with Tavistock AFC, in a side that was mainly made up of youngsters.

On Saturday however, he played alongside the likes of Michael Cooper, Dan Scarr and Jordan Houghton and didn’t look out of place.

“I mean the intensity is a lot higher than under-18s,” he said, “but you get used to it over time and the players, they help you get used to it as well, so it has been good so far.”

A versatile defender, Jeff has been used in a variety of position since joining the Academy as a 13-year-old.

Last season, he was an integral part of Darren Way’s under-18 side, playing at centre-back, wing-back and even in midfield.

He played the second 45 minutes at Bolitho Park on the right of a back three and is beginning to feel a little more at home amongst the first team players.

He said, “the message was to just run as much as possible and get forward.

“I’ve been the club since around under 14s, so it is what you look forward to, it’s what you play and train for everyday for.

“It’s good to get on the pitch, in front of all the fans and yeah put in a good performance.”

Defensively he looked assured and had a confidence about him that impressed the manager, Steven Schumacher.

But the versatility and knowhow of playing a couple of different positions no doubt helped when he popped up with an injury time assist for his skipper.

“Yeah, I thought there wasn’t long left in the game I might as well get forwards and try get a couple crosses in.

I did and managed to get an assist - it was a great header.” 

An eye-catching performance from Jeff, who has been a regular part of the pre-season training so far this summer, but what is he hoping for this season?

“First off, I just want to get the fitness back you know, this is like the first real experience of match fitness this season so just get it all back in our legs.

“Then this season, to hopefully replicate a lot of what we did last season because it was a very good season you know; maybe win the Youth Alliance league as well, have a good FA Youth Cup run and just do as well as I can.”  

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