First-year scholar Harry Phillips is eager to stake a claim for a position in the starting eleven for Southend United U18s after performing well during pre-season.
“I was surprised, but really happy to start against Ipswich,” the youngster said after lining up in the 3-0 win over the Tractor Boys at Playford Road.
“I got 90 minutes as well, which I was really happy about. That has improved my fitness, which is what pre-season is all about. Hopefully when the season starts I’ll be in the starting eleven but I’ll have to wait and see.”
“It was a great result to go to Ipswich for an away game against a Category Two club and to turn them over. We’re confident in our team; we feel we’ve got a really good team. We knew we could go there and get a result, and today was possibly the best result we could’ve got.”
The performance against Ipswich built on good displays against Oxford United and LTB Sussex Academy, and Phillips believes that the way the side are playing bodes well for the upcoming campaign, for the team and himself. Having scored against Oxford, he feels he is making a good transition into his scholarship.
“We’ve had some good results. It’s building our confidence going into the season, and that’s what pre-season is all about. In the first half against Ipswich, I thought I didn’t really get on the ball enough, but as the game progressed, I felt we controlled the game and I thought I got into some good positions.”
“I was happy to score against Oxford. It was nice to get a goal early. I think I’ve got to add more goals to my game. I didn’t have enough shots against Ipswich to score, but that’s an area of my game I want to improve on.”
“Full-time training is good. It’s hard work; pre-season involves a lot of running, but there’s a lot of ball-work as well, which I was surprised about. It’s going well, and the result against Ipswich proved that; we looked fitter than Ipswich and we looked better on the ball as well,” he concluded.