There’s only one Liam Rosenior – and we’ve got him!
The Incider is the official sponsor of Liam Rosenior’s home kit for the coming season. To kick off our support for 18-year-old Liam, we have an exclusive interview with the youngster rated among the brightest of the club’s future stars. We will be following the fortunes of City’s new Number 26 through his first season in the squad.
Academy graduate Liam - son of former coach Leroy - was given permission to have trials at Chelsea in December last year and West Ham the following month after impressing Premiership scouts with his talent. Hammers boss Glenn Roeder was keen to snap up the fast emerging teenager, who is signed up at the Gate until 2004. But City refused to let him go without a suitable transfer fee and he remained at Ashton Gate.
Liam made his debut in the Stoke City match on the final day of last season. He was promoted to the first team squad after impressing manager Danny Wilson. And he told The Incider how he was backing the youngsters to take the team to glory this season.
Q. Describe yourself as a player for those who haven’t seen you play.
I’m not the strongest physically but I’m quite fast. I like to get hold of the ball, pass the ball and create chances for people. I think I’m a creator more than anything. I can play anywhere along the back or in midfield. I’m pretty versatile. My ideal position would probably be central midfield but because I like getting forward I can play right back as well and right midfield. But hopefully I’m good enough in all the positions that the manager can put me in anywhere!
Q. What are your aims for the coming season?
My aim this season is obviously to become a first team regular but that’s not the be all and end all. I’m just looking to enjoy my football and get as many games as I can. Danny told me at the end of last season that I had got a squad number and it’s up to me from here, really. It felt great when he told me. It surprised me because I didn’t really expect it. I just like to get on with my football and then see what happens. I was expecting to have to come back and report to the Under 19s, because I’m still under 19. But I was thrilled and it’s feeling good so far. I’m just trying to take it in my stride.
Q. What is the difference in routine between training in the Academy and training with the first team?
We have to be in at 7am for pre-season, which was a bit of a shock! The work is a bit more intense but it’s a more relaxed atmosphere. You’re treated more like men, so if you’ve got any problems there you are allowed to speak up and say so.
It’s very different. It is mentally more intense because you’ve got more things to think about while you’re running, whereas in the Academy you are just running. The football side is also definitely physically harder.
Q. How did the debut against Stoke City feel?
The last game of last season was my first game and it went really well for me. It was the fastest 20 minutes or half an hour of my life. In fact I don’t even know how long it was. It went within 20 seconds, basically, and I honestly can’t remember anything about it. I just remember the goal, and that was about it really. But my friends told me I did well. My dad was there to see it, so it was a nice day, and I hope to have a few more of them if I do well enough. Obviously there are loads of players here and there is a lot of competition but hopefully if I can fulfill my potential then I will be pushing for a first team place.
Q. Do you see your immediate future at Ashton Gate?
I’m happy to play for Bristol City. It’s never been an issue for me. If I’m playing in the first team and playing well then that’s the best thing that could be happening to me right now.
Q. What were the trials with West Ham and Chelsea like?
It was very exciting. I was training with the first team and it was unbelievable. I was training with people like Zola and Di Canio and Trevor Sinclair and Joe Cole. It was weird because it felt like I shouldn’t be there. But I did quite well and I learnt so much there that when I came back to Bristol City, I had become twice the player within a month that I was when I left.
Q. Were you upset that the clubs couldn’t agree a fee?
To start off with it was unsettling because I thought there was a time when it looked like I was going to go. Obviously it was down to the two clubs but I just got on with my football and carried on really.
Q. Presumably you are looking on day to get up there and play in the Premiership?
Yes, that would be great. But I think there’s as good a chance that I can do that with Bristol City as anywhere else. Definitely. Hopefully we can start this season by getting up to the First Division and see what happens from there.
Q. How has the pre-season gone for you and the team?
It’s gone really well. Everyone came back even fitter than last season. Everyone’s looking for places in the team so everyone has been doing work in the summer. The game didn’t really matter because it was our first game and Yeovil had played six already. We weren’t really there for the result. It was more of a fitness exercise for us.
Q. Did the poor end to last season drive the players to get fitter through the summer?
Definitely. The players have come back focused on getting promotion. I think the whole club is ready for promotion and hopefully I can be a part of that too. The atmosphere among the players is quiet confidence. I don’t think there’s as much pressure on us this season as there was last season. Obviously we didn’t fulfill our expectations last season but because of the financial difficulties I think that there’s going to be more young players coming through, and I don’t think that will be a bad thing for the club because we’ve got a lot of good youngsters here.
Q. Are the youngsters ready to carry such a huge weight on their shoulders?
I would like to think so, obviously. But we’ve got one or two experienced players as well that can help us through it. It’s more the job of the coaching staff really, but all the older players like Brian Tinnion – and even people like Peter Beadle and Bill Mercer who have been injured - are always around to give you tips and bits of advice and encouragement. That definitely helps.
Q. How do you rate our chances this season?
Personally, I think we’ve got a great chance. I don’t
know what the fans think, but I think everyone here thinks that
we’ve got a good chance. If we get off to a good start this
season, then who knows what could happen.
I would say to them that the youngsters that have played are a year older than they were. Last season helped them immensely, I think. The players that played last year, like Danny Coles, have got stronger mentally and physically. I think they can only get better. I would call people like Louis Carey and Aaron Brown experienced players. Louis is captain now, and even though he’s injured people look up to him. It’s a good atmosphere at the moment, so hopefully if we can continue that through the season.
Q. Do you go on the Internet and on the City forum yourself?
I’ve seen it a couple of times but I try to just concentrate on my football because other people can say things - good or bad – that can take your mind off the game or what you are about. So I just try and ignore everything and get on with my football, because I think that’s what is most important.
Q. Does your dad give you plenty of advice on your career?
Not at all. You’d be surprised. He just encourages me. After a game, he’ll just say, ‘Well done’. The people whose job it is to coach me are the coaches. I’m always asking him questions but he doesn’t really try to put pressure on me. I think that’s a good, healthy relationship.
Q. What about the other players? Do you know if they go on the forum?
A couple of them do…but they pretend they don’t! I think the best thing to do is keep our heads down. If people say good things about us, that’s up to them. If they’re saying bad things then that’s up to them too. I don’t think any of the players would actually post on the forum. I’m not sure, though…I wouldn’t put it past a couple of them.
Q. And a final thought for the fans at the start of the season?
I wouldn’t worry too much about the scores in the pre-season games. It’s all aimed at August 10. We didn’t have good results last pre-season and then we went unbeaten for the first six games. Basically, it’s a programme geared to the first game. It’s not geared to peaking three games early because we’ll be tired for the first game. I don’t think the fans should worry about it. Everyone here is definitely upbeat for the new season.