Author: Freddie Lammie
Freddie Lammie speaks to Bristol City midfielder and U19 European champion Alex Scott after a whirlwind past few years which has seen the Guernsey man swap the Isthmian League Division One South East for regular Championship minutes.
TSS: When did your love for football begin, and coming from Guernsey, what did a typical week look like when you first signed for an academy?
AS: I think I was four or five when I started getting into football. Growing up, I’ve always been playing football and going to bed with my kit on.
Southampton wanted me on trial after a summer camp when I was eight years old. It was a bit mad being so young. From there I was at Southampton for 4 ½ years. We were flying over every weekend – we had to do it. It was me and either my dad or my mum who’d have to fly over every weekend. The club paid for the hotel that we stayed in every weekend and my parents paid for the flight.
I was twelve when I got released from Southampton. It’s quite draining. You want to get back in and go to another academy and mentally you think that I’m not good enough for this.
It was tough on my parents as well, having to pay for flights each week for four years. We sacrificed so much as a family to make it work which made it really hard to take when I wasn’t offered a contract.
Straight after it I went to Bournemouth and was there for a year. They wanted me to sign a contract with them but I didn’t want to really, I just wanted to stay at home.
TSS: How did academy football affect daily life back at home?
AS: I’d grown up not seeing my friends at all. Every weekend I was flying and staying in a hotel with my mum or my dad. I just wanted to get home and play local football! I’d be in Guernsey for the whole week and then I’d do a half-day of school on Friday, fly over that night and either train Friday night or Saturday morning, depending on what age group it was. I’d fly straight back after that game.
Some weeks I would only get 20 minutes and having to do all that traveling with the sacrifices my parents made wasn’t fair. I wasn’t enjoying it.
At that point I thought that I was going to have to do something else. As soon as you come out of that environment, being from Guernsey, it’s hard to get back into it.
I was playing local football from 14 to 16 in Guernsey. The enjoyment came back and I just got my confidence back. At the same time, you can have a life. You’d play a game on a Saturday or Sunday and then enjoy the week with your friends. When I hit 16, I finished school. I was at college in Guernsey and did six months doing sport there. At that point, I had no idea what I was going to do jobs wise.
TSS: How did the Bristol City move come about then?
AS: The manager of Guernsey is good friends with someone high up at Bristol, Brian Tinnion!
I came here on trial, scored a hat-trick and I also trained with the first team on my trial. I was thinking I am nowhere near this. A year later and I’m fully in the first-team. It’s mad!
TSS: You were playing in the Isthmian League for Guernsey FC at 16 years old. A year later you were making your debut for the England U18s against Wales. What was it like entering an elite environment like that for the first time?
AS: It was weird. I trained with the first team at Bristol before I went. That definitely helped me come into the group. I had a lot of confidence but even then, you’re seeing all the teams, the Man City’s and the Chelsea’s and then there’s me playing for Bristol City.
Louie Barry and Karamoko, they were the top boys! When I was playing local football and going to school, everyone was talking about Louie Barry, Karamoko and Liam Delap.
I just remember when I got the call up for England and saw my name was there with Louie Barry. A year or two years ago I was chatting to my friends about these players. They’re all so humble. Louie Barry for example, I was going there thinking ‘what’s he going to be like?’ Obviously he went to Barcelona and from young he’s been a big name who everybody has known about. He’s one of the nicest people to speak to off the pitch!
TSS: You had a great summer away with England, winning the European U19 Championship in Slovakia. One notable highlight was your equaliser against Italy in the semi-final! Did that headed goal come as a surprise?!
AS: I think a lot of people were surprised. When I was younger I actually won quite a few headers all the time. I remember a cup final where I scored three headers! It was my first touch as well! I was disappointed not to start the game but to come on and score the goal straight away, it fired everyone up!
At England, they call substitutes finishers. You don’t want to be known as a sub and being labeled a finisher makes you feel like you can have an impact. Our squad at the EUROs was a joke so there were always going to be top players left out. You have players like Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, ridiculous! He’s a joke! He’s got no weak foot, it doesn’t make sense. Liam Delap was not starting games! The attackers we had in that team were a joke. Dane [Scarlett], Liam and [Dan] Jebbo as our strikers! Jebbo didn’t start one game!
TSS: Having defeated Israel in the group stages, how did you feel going into the final?
AS: That final was weird. We were confident going into it and were very relaxed before the game. That first half was a pop sesh! I feel like people didn’t give them enough credit back home but we knew the whole time that they were a top side.
We played them in the group and they sat off us a bit so people thought that it might be easy in the final! Israel were at it. Thankfully we came away with the win.
I don’t think I’ve properly deeped winning the Euros. Four or five years ago I was watching Phil Foden win it and now we’ve done it!
I’m close with Carney [Chukwuemeka]. Callum Doyle, Luke Chambers, Harvey Davies and Alfie Devine, that’s our little group at England. I’m close with everyone. That’s the good thing about our group. Everyone can speak to each other and mingle with each other. It brought us tighter together and winning it was mad.
TSS: You’ve now donned the number 7 shirt at Bristol! What are your goals for this season?
AS: I had to get the new number! There were a few that I could have got. There was 7 or 20. The kitman had to go to the gaffer and he had to approve it first but I’m glad he did.
I just want to keep on playing games and I want to be involved in every game this season. I’ve played a few games as a 10 this year but I’m not really bothered about where I play as long as I’m playing. Obviously more goals and more assists. It’s down to us on the pitch to make this season a successful one for the club!
TSS: Thank you for your time Alex! Make sure you follow the socials if you haven’t already! You can find us @thesecretscout1 on Instagram, @TheSecretScout_ on Twitter, and THESECRETSCOUT on YouTube! Stay tuned for more content coming your way…