How often do you do your hair?

Every two weeks if I haven’t fallen out with my hairdresser!

What’s your favourite football boot?

The new [Adidas] Copas. They’re comfortable and reliable, especially the ones without laces. I hate tying my laces.

Who was your footballing influence when you started playing?

My older cousin. He used to look after me and my younger brother and he would take us to the park where he would just play football. He would just dance around us. It was so mesmerising, the way he used to move with the ball.

I found out when I was older that he had a car crash and couldn’t continue his career. I think about just how good he could have been at full health.

Who is the best player you have played with?

Either Adel Taarabt or Harry Kane. I was in the reserves with Taarabt [at Tottenham] and I was with Kane at Tottenham and then Norwich.

Taarabt was a phenomenal footballer. He could do everything.

One time, when I got called to the reserves in Year 11, I was sitting in his seat when we were on the bus. He was cool about it and said, “Don’t worry. I’m going to sleep, but when I wake up I’ll score a hat-trick.” He did exactly that!

But Kane was a robot. Relentless. Every day after training, finishing, finishing, finishing. He could score from anywhere. We used to say, “This guy is so annoying. He’s always busy.  What’s his problem?”

But, every day after training, finishing, finishing, finishing. He was elite.

What is the feeling like 15 minutes before a match?

I used to get butterflies, but now that I’m older I’m a lot more calm and chill. Now, I’ll help some of the other lads settle their nerves. I try to be the calming influence in the dressing room.

What’s your relationship like with the manager and the players?

I think it’s very good. My relationship with the boys is pretty sweet. It’s a great group.

I played against the gaffer for years before he signed me for Hungerford. I couldn’t get in the team. Their players were too good!

Over the years we kept in contact. He’s very good friends with a few of my mentors and he’s been a rock for me.

How do you personally stay positive when the team is not winning?

I used to let things get to me. Don’t get me wrong, I hate losing, but there’s always another game and another chance to put things right. I look at my performance.

How can I get better? How can I fix things before the next game?

It’s a mental resilience not to let one thing get you down. If you let things get you down, you can never pick yourself up. I’ve had to get through a lot of things in my life, yet I’m still here. I can’t let one mistake stop me from reaching where I’m supposed to be.

Calvin Brooks asks if Ben

Thomson and Gerard Benfield finally got in the ring together for a heavyweight showdown, who wins?

Thomo is very strong, I’m not gonna lie. But I feel like Gez might win. I think he might just edge it. He looks like a bit more of a brawler. A keeper’s screws are never fully screwed in!

Who do you car-pool with and what’s the banter like?

David Sesay, Jordon Thompson and Charlie Rowan. The banter is crazy. I’m definitely the most childish out of all four of us.

Do you have any superstitions?

Last out of the changing room. I just have to be. I like to get ready in my own time and I don’t want to be rushed.

Interview by
Jack Webb

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