Kane Crichlow is grateful for the mentoring of several first-team players and believes it was a big factor in his impressive start to the Professional Development League season writes Kevin Affleck.
The Bermudian youth international signed from AFC Wimbledon in the summer was taken to Austria by Javi Gracia on the strength of his attitude and performances in the first fortnight of pre-season and he soaked up the whole experience.
Although he didn’t play against Ajax or Bayern Leverkusen, the 18-year-old trained alongside senior internationals every day and got to see how they carried and conducted themselves around the team hotel. In his first competitive match since he got back, Crichlow scored twice and made another against Hull City on Monday afternoon as the Under-23 side ran out handsome 5-0 winners in their biggest win for nearly two years.
“It was a big help,” said Crichlow. “Their level is really high. They are Premier League players, some internationals, and they really helped me prepare for the Under-23 season. Deeney was giving a lot of advice to me. Him and Andre [Gray], [Adrian] Mariappa and [Nathaniel] Chalobah really took me under their wing. I was talking to them the most, getting a lot of advice. They said work hard, keep your head down and continue to work hard, catch the head coach's eye and hopefully get on the bench some time this season.
“It’s was great. Seeing these guys on TV you are like, ’Wow, I want to be in this type of position, travel with them and play with them.’ It’s a real motivator for me.”
The Under-23 side are back in action on Monday night at Sheffield United and that provides another swift opportunity for Crichlow to work towards his target.
“I’ve set a few goal; obviously to score lots of goals and assists for the Under-23s, and hopefully get called up to the [first-team] squad once or twice before December – or throughout the season, really, “he said. "Those are my goals for the first year.”