19-year-old midfielder James McConnell has emerged like a comet this preseason, joining from Sunderland in 2019, the young midfielder has shown glimpses of his talent this summer with a composure that belies his teenage years.
He made the bench for the opening game of the season, but has since been unable to accompany the first team and has spent most of his time playing matches for the U-21 team. However, with Curtis Jones suspended, he was back on the bench for the Everton and Nottingham Forest games.
He made his long-awaited first-team debut in the Europa League against Toulouse in a big win, playing only the last few minutes of the game. Playing and training with some of the best players in the world, the 19-year-old midfielder feels that he is quickly becoming an adult.
“It was a great experience,”
“I felt it was a big opportunity, especially as it was one with a challenge as I was playing in a position that I hadn’t played in for a while, but I thought I did well and hopefully it set me up for further opportunities in the season.”
“I was preparing for pre-season with the U21s so anything with the first team was a bonus and to play in all five games and to get a half in most of those matches was a big bonus. I didn’t expect that at all.”
“You learn a lot from being around the senior players. You see all the work that they put in and how they react after wins or losses, keeping level-headed and how professional they are. I think it really helps you mature quickly and get ready to step into the senior game.”
“There’s also loads of things you can learn from them individually. [Alexis] Mac Allister is a World Cup winner, [Dominik] Szoboszlai’s a top, top player. You can only learn from people like them and [Wataru] Endo, Curtis [Jones], Ryan [Gravenberch] and Harvey [Elliott].”
“They also give me little tips. For instance, Harvey was helping me when I was a bit unaware of some of the positional stuff.”Official Matchday Programme