Nathan Greenwood has spoken of his delight at signing his first Whickham FC contract as the exciting forward committed his future to the club last week. WRITES ADAM TONES.
Greenwood was one of Tony Fawcett’s first signings when he took over as Whickham manager at the back end of October last year.
Having previously been released by Sunderland Football Club, the 21-year-old has made a big impression since joining Whickham, scoring six goals in nine appearances as well as providing a couple of assists to help the Lang Jacks climb up the league table.
Whickham manager Tony Fawcett was delighted when Greenwood committed his future to the club until the end of 2022-2023 season.
Tony said: “It’s good to do it so early, sometimes you leave these things to the end of the season, and it becomes a bit of a cat and mouse chase.
“He’s come in and liked what we have put in place, enjoyed himself and doesn’t want to play anywhere else.
“I’m really pleased, I like the lad a lot and I think he’s got a lot of talent, and he’s going to add to the football club.”
The Lang Jacks manager has been impressed with the striker’s maturity and focus leading up to each match.
Fawcett added: “I think for me Nathan brings a lot of professionalism to the club, he trains really well and he’s at every single training session.
“He’s absolute quality on the ball, he’s quick and creative. I think he’s top goalscorer since I came to the club.
“He’s something that I want the future of us to be like. Whickham in two-or three-year’s time in an ideal world would have been promoted.
“Still trying to progress and people like Nathan are important to that, they bring the enthusiasm.
“If you watch him when we play, you get excited watching him. I want that to be our mantra.”
When discussing the importance of Greenwood’s contribution to the team on a weekly basis, Fawcett praised Greenwood’s flexibility.
Tony said: “Nathan can play a host of positions; he can play upfront or attacking position behind that.
“He’s instrumental in terms of his thought process to score goals or set someone up, and you need your attacking players to be like that.
“For us to be successful we’ve got to have really good competition and he has to earn his spot.
“Just because he’s signed a contract, does not mean I’ll hand him a start every Saturday. He’s got to train really hard through the week and earn his stop in what is a competitive team.”
Tony is happy with how quickly Greenwood has settled into the team since his move to the First Mortgage Glebe.
He said: “He’s a quiet, confident lad, the lads love him he’s a popular character in the group.
“He’s a good character to have around and the lads love him, he’s in a good place.”
Nathan has enjoyed playing under the guidance of Tony and his team since arriving at the club.
He said: “I think first of all, I had a really good chat with Tony. When I first came into the club, Tony wanted me to express myself.
“I feel like the first few games have gone really well, I have scored in quite a few games, and I’ve been on a good run.
“Tony came to me with the option of signing a contract, there was only one option and that was to sign the contract.
“Tony has given me a really good platform to build on and build on with this team. The squads doing really well at the moment, we’ve got a really good group of players.
“I see this club progressing, we’re definitely on a positive wave at the moment and I can see the club really progressing in the future.
When discussing the impact, the manager has had on his decision to sign a contract with Whickham, Greenwood went on to say: “I think prior to joining, he wanted me to ease into the squad and show my ability.
“He started me and started to trust me. Once I’ve started the games it been about building trust.
“I think Tony is a really good man manager, the way he expresses himself and the way he wants the team to play as well is really good.
“I feel like playing under Tony, it gives me a lot more confidence. He’s willing to let me play my own game, which gives me confidence to help the team as much as I can.”
Greenwood talked about his favoured role within the team, a role he thinks is suited to the way Whickham play.
He said: “I do feel like the number ten position is the best position for me at the moment.
“The way we play it’s me fitting in between the lines, and defenders stepping out from the back to give me the ball and express myself, helping to create chances for us to go and score.”
The striker went on to talk about the club’s ambitions, and how far he sees Whickham progressing in the next couple of seasons.
He added: “I feel like we can go really high, the sky’s the limit at the moment.
“The way our mentality is as a squad, we trust in the manager and all trust each other as players and want to do the best we can for each other.
“I think the mentality in the group is excellent, there are no bad eggs. Every single one of us want to come as a collective group to win as many games as we can.”
Greenwood has set himself high but achievable expectations, the former product of Sunderland’s youth academy would love to get back into professional football.
He said: “I think all player’s ambitions are to play as high as they possibly can. Coming from an academy, coming from Sunderland and playing professional football, it’s wanting to get back to where I was playing.
“My ambitions are to go back and play professional full-time football. It’s always what I’ve wanted as a kid. “I’ll never stop that ambition.”
Quick fire fun facts – Player profile
Age: 21 years-old
Occupation: Estate Agent
Favourite club: Sunderland
Favourite present player: Neymar – Flair, skill and pace.
Favourite past player: Ronaldinho
Ronaldo or Messi: Lionel Messi – Best to ever do it.
Dream 5-a-side Team
Ederson, Iniesta, Hazard, Neymar, Messi