AFC Bournemouth striker Jake Scrimshaw is loving life at Walsall but still has mum Sarah to thank for looking the part.
The frontman has achieved two memorable career milestones since joining the Saddlers on loan at the start of the season.
He made his Football League debut in October before scoring his first goals in an eventful 4-3 win over Port Vale last Saturday.
And while the 20-year-old may have come of age on the pitch, it is away from football where Scrimshaw has really started to grow up.
“When I first got here, I had to FaceTime my mum to find out how to work the washing machine!” laughed the Isle of Wight-born hitman who shares a flat with team-mate Emmanuel Osadebe.
“It’s a bit different from living in digs when everything is done for you. When I lived in Bournemouth, I used to chuck my washing in a basket and my host family would wash it for me. Now, I have to do all my own washing.
“Ever since I’ve been at Bournemouth, I’ve lived in digs with some of the other lads so coming here has been a new life experience for me.
“When I first arrived, I didn’t know anybody and didn’t know my way around the area. For the first few weeks, I was using my SatNav to get anywhere.
“I’m getting used to it and I’ve had to grow up a bit. I do all my own food shopping and have to plan what I’m going to eat for the week.
“As a footballer, you know what you should and shouldn’t eat and I always eat healthily. I quite like cooking so I’m enjoying that. But I’m not a big fan of washing my clothes and washing up my dishes!”
Scrimshaw has made 13 appearances for Walsall, including 11 in League Two. His double against Port Vale helped them register a fourth win on the trot and he will be hoping to make it five when they visit Salford City on Boxing Day.
“I’ve ticked off a few of my dreams and it’s going well,” said Scrimshaw, who made nine appearances in the National League with Eastleigh last season and enjoyed a productive loan spell with Poole Town in 2018/19 when he finished as their leading goalscorer.
“I’ve made my professional debut and scored my first goals. I’m enjoying it, I like the lads and it’s been a good experience so far.
“My debut at Bradford was a weird one. I didn’t think I was going to get on and then the gaffer told me to get ready. I couldn’t wait and it was a great feeling when I stepped on the pitch.
“Before scoring against Port Vale, I’d been getting in the right places but the ball just hadn’t been falling for me.
“I hit the bar against Cheltenham and had a couple of other efforts cleared off the line. Although it took longer than I had hoped, the first one had been coming. There’s no better feeling than scoring a goal and it was the cherry on the top.”
Scrimshaw, who dedicated his goals to parents Lee and Sarah and nan Bib, recently returned to the Isle of Wight to see his family, although it was a rare visit home.
He said: “Since I’ve been here, I’ve been home a couple of times. We can’t go home for Christmas so I went to see them for a couple of days.
“They can’t come to games because of the pandemic but have been watching the streams.
"To be honest, I wouldn’t blame them if they didn’t come to watch all the games anyway because it’s such a long journey. When I drive home, it can take more than five hours one way.
“I would have loved for them to have been there to see my debut and first goals but at least the games are on video.
"I know how much it means to them and they know how much it means to me because they have done everything for me to get me this far.
“Ever since I first joined the academy at 15, my goal has been to play for the Bournemouth first team.
"I’ve been delighted to see it happen for a few of my team-mates this season. They have all been given chances and all proved themselves. Hopefully, one day, I’ll get my chance.”
Asked about the rough and tumble of League Two, Scrimshaw replied: “It’s a physical league but physicality is a part of the game I don’t mind and I enjoy a few tussles. It’s a lot different to playing for the under-23s and a great experience.
“I’m used to being roughed up and ended up with two scars on my face from my loan spell at Poole Town. I got headbutted when I scored a header and elbowed in the face a couple of weeks later.
“I’m not sure what it’s done for my looks but the host family in my digs started calling me Scarface!”