Huw Dawson keen to keep on the learning curve with St Albans City
- Credit: DANNY LOO
The pre-season has been one to remember for one of the young up-and-coming stars at St Albans City - and now Huw Dawson is licking his lips in anticipation of the year ahead.
Saints decided to put their faith in youth last summer with the creation of an academy.
And manager Ian Allinson has not been shy about thrusting the U18 squad into the first-team picture.
Dawson and Alex Lankshear were the first of the squad to train with the senior side at the National League South club and have been listed among the starters for a number of the friendly games prior to the August 14 kick-off.
One of the biggest of them was Watford where Dawson locked horns with the former Derby County and England U21 player, Will Hughes.
"That was a tough game," said the 17-year-old. "They had some very good players out there like Will Hughes so it was tough to play against them but it was good experience, especially with me being so young.
"I’ve played a lot of games [through pre-season] and I’m learning in each one, learning from the other players and the matches themselves.
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"It’s helping me get used to what I need to do and to men’s football.
"It is much-more physical [than the junior game] but I’m getting there."
Playing alongside the likes of former Arsenal, West Ham United and Exeter City man David Noble certainly helps ad Dawson has been keeping a close-eye on the club skipper as he looks to expand his own knowledge.
"It’s great to watch him in matches and in training," he said. "He’s obviously played for so long and knows exactly what he is doing.
"There’s a lot I can learn from him."
And even though this is shaping up to be his breakthrough season, the Verulam School pupil knows that his education on the field is only just beginning.
And while he is looking for a similarly impressive season for the team, his personal goal is to carrying on his forward trajectory.
He said: "Last year we were very good and so I’m hoping it will be the same again, where we are up there challenging for the league and the play-offs.
"I want to carry on learning as much as I can and take the chances when they come.
"Then I’ll get more chances and hopefully get into the team more and get playing."