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Features

Top 5: Stacey on Premier League introduction

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Jack Stacey picks out five key moments and learnings from his debut season as a Premier League player.

The right-back joined the Cherries over the summer after helping to secure back-to-back promotions with Luton Town to lift them from League Two to the Championship.

The 23-year-old made his bow for his new club in the late-August Carabao Cup tie with Forest Green before being drafted in for his first Premier League minutes two-and-a-half weeks later and starting against Everton.

Ahead of the enforced break, Stacey had clocked up 12 Premier League appearances, and also picked up assists in goals scored against Arsenal and Chelsea.

1: First squad meeting

After I'd signed the first player who came into the changing room was Callum Wilson, I’d just seen him play for England over the summer so that was a bit surreal. Then after that it was straight into testing, which was quite a tough day physically. It just showed me that there are no real secrets at the top – just players who consistently work hard.

It also struck me just how down to earth everyone was; everyone was very welcoming, from staff members to players. We went straight into the session and I almost felt that I had fitted in straight away.

You probably think that at the higher level there are going to be egos, maybe more cliques and stuff like that in the Premier League, but it isn’t like that at all, it’s been really refreshing.

2. Making PL Debut

I think I found out I was playing the day before the Everton game. Since I joined the club I have set goals and the first one had to be to make my Premier League debut. That was the goal I worked towards when I signed and even from a long time before that as well.

I was a bit nervous before the game and had been the night before, but I was just thinking that this was everything I’d worked for so I had to go out and try to enjoy it. We ended up winning the game 3-1 and I felt like I performed reasonably well so it turned out to be a really good day, a really happy memory.

3: The goal of goals

I’ve got two assists so far and perhaps as a right-back you don’t come out and say that you want to score. I’m more focused on clean sheets, defending and winning games but I know the next milestone for me is trying to help the team when going forwards as much as possible and if that’s through goals and assists then I’ll be delighted.

I’ve definitely adapted and with the more games you play and with the run of games I’ve had in the team it has really helped me to bed in and improve as a player. From that first game against Everton I think I’ve improved a lot and there’s a lot of improvement still to come.

4: Comparing PL adventures with James Justin

I catch up with him quite a lot, after doing so well with Luton together in the last few seasons. He moved to Leicester a few weeks before me while my move was still ongoing. We spoke when he first moved about the difference in training and intensity and then we’ve caught up throughout the season talking about how it’s going.

We’ve not really spoken about advice for each other, more about the step up and how we’re both finding the Premier League. It’s good to have that support.

5: Isolation Life

The situation at the moment is crazy, it’s unprecedented, no-one’s quite sure what to do. I’m just trying to keep myself fit as much as possible, I’ve got an exercise bike at home and we’ve been given a programme for us all to follow.

Hopefully for everyone’s sake, not just with the football, the situation in the world can be resolved as soon as possible, it needs to be dealt with as well as it possibly can.

On the pitch we felt like our last five or six performances were really improved, so we just have to try and use this break to come back even fitter, even stronger and hopefully we can get back on the pitch soon and give the fans something to smile about.

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