When Carl Fletcher writes Jake Scrimshaw’s end-of-season report, he can tick all the boxes.
The AFC Bournemouth loans manager will have been satisfied with the two fruitful spells Scrimshaw enjoyed at Walsall and Newport County.
The young striker made his Football League debut, scored his first senior goals, was involved in a Wembley play-off final and gained valuable life experiences.
Scrimshaw looked on from the sidelines as Newport were beaten by Morecambe in the League Two final on Monday, his chances of featuring ruined by an ankle injury.
“I’d never before been to Wembley so it was exciting for me,” the 20-year-old Isle of Wight-raised frontman told afcb.co.uk.
“It was a good experience to be in and around the play-offs. I don’t know if I would have been involved but I was injured a few days before the final.
“One of the 'keepers tackled me in training and I went over on my ankle. It’s not too serious. I’m in a boot at the moment so, hopefully, I’ll be back for the start of pre-season.
“It was frustrating but it wasn’t as if I could have controlled what happened. They still included me in everything they did on the day of the final.
“When I got there, I was thinking it would be a dream to play here in such a big game. I watched the game from behind the bench and it was heart-breaking to lose, especially in extra-time to a penalty.
“It meant a lot to me to be there and to be involved. Although I didn’t play, I felt the pain. It was something I will learn from and I never want to experience that feeling again.”
Scrimshaw spent the first half of the 2020/21 campaign on loan to Newport’s League Two rivals Walsall, netting twice in 16 appearances for the Saddlers.
He scored three times in a further 16 games for the Exiles, helping them clinch their place in the play-offs as they finished fifth.
A wealth of experienced options up front, including Nicky Maynard, Ryan Taylor and Padraig Amond, saw Scrimshaw left out of the squad during the closing stages of the season.
“It started really well,” said Scrimshaw. “I started the first few games, scored a couple of goals and then dropped back to the bench.
“Mentally, it was frustrating and challenging but, with everything I experienced, I think it will benefit me in the long run.
“There was a period when I was out of the squad and that was a massive learning experience for me.
“I’d never before been in that situation so I know it will make me stronger and make me not want to be in that situation again.
“We had a big squad and, towards the end of the season, I was the one to miss out. The manager explained his reasons behind it and I just had to get my head down and keep working hard.”
LEARNING FROM THE EXPERIENCED
Off the pitch, Scrimshaw also learned some valuable life experiences as he shared a house with Newport’s 42-year-old midfielder Kevin Ellison (pictured below), Taylor and David Longe-King.
“Kev is a bit of a joker and we got on really well. I got on well with everybody,” added Scrimshaw.
“The banter was non-stop and it was a good experience living with Kev. We were always on at each other.
“My dad’s a bit older than him but that was the joke, we were the father and son in the squad and everyone was always giving it that shout.
“He’s a great guy and the life and soul of the changing room. Everyone seems to get on with him even though he’s got a terrible accent!
“It’s incredible to be doing what he is at 42. He doesn’t struggle at all, he gets on with it and is one of the fittest players in the squad. He’s just mentally strong and has looked after himself.”
“I wouldn’t mind being a multi-millionaire!”
Asked whether he would rather be a retired multi-millionaire or still playing when he’s 42, Scrimshaw quipped: “I wouldn’t mind being a multi-millionaire!”
He added: “I want to play for as long as I can. It’s the game I love. There’s nothing more I enjoy than playing football and, as long as I can play, I will.
“Kev was a great role model and a great house-mate. I made him do the cleaning up so that was always nice. As he was the eldest, we left the hoovering to him!
“We all did our own washing but took it in turns to cook. Kev got a bit carried away at times. He loves chucking spices in there and making it as hot as he can.
“We found stuff online and did lots of different recipes. Nobody got food poisoning so we must have been doing something right!”