‘This a proud moment for me and my family’


‘This a proud moment for me and my family’

James Olayinka has signed his first professional contract with the club, 11 years on from joining our Hale End academy.

The 18-year-old midfielder has featured 20 times this season across all competitions - and now he’s desperate to kick on under the guidance of Freddie Ljungberg.

We spoke to Olayinka after his deal was announced - and this is what he said:

on signing his first professional contract…
It’s a great feeling. I’ve been here for about 11 or 12 years now, so to finally get to this stage is a dream come true. It’s a proud moment for me and my family.

on being at the club from a young age…
Yeah, it’s been a long journey and there’s been ups and down, but to get to this stage is testament to the hard work. I’m happy that the club have rewarded me with a contract.

on moving from Hale End to London Colney…
I think at the start it was tough with the training every day. Over there we just trained once or twice or three times a week, but I think I’ve adapted well. Now that I’m used to it, I’m flourishing.

on adjusting to life in the Premier League 2…
It’s definitely a jump from under-18s football, but I think my coach, Freddie [Ljungberg], has helped me to adjust. The guys in the gym have helped me to build my body up too, so I’ve been getting a few more assists and playing better in the matches.

on Smith Rowe, Willock and Nketiah receiving first-team opportunities…
For all of us below them I think it gives us hope and lets us know that if you are doing the right things on the pitch and off it, the manager will see it and give you the opportunity. It’s just about taking it when it comes.

on his targets for the season…
Personally I just want to keep playing well and score a few more goals for the team. In terms of targets for the team, I think we can do better in the Premier League 2 and start picking up some more points, and for the u-18s we’re still in the FA Youth Cup. We’re in the last 16 now so it’s a good chance for us to go one stage further than last year.

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