“You have to aim high, otherwise what’s the point of being here?” … Local boy Tim enjoying every minute of his Latics first team experience.
Twenty year old midfielder Tim Chow has stacked up as many minutes as anyone in the pre-season matches so far, he has been on both trips to Germany and says far from being daunting, the experience of being with the first team for the first time has given him a taste for more.
“It’s like nothing I’ve experienced before, physically tactically, the intensity is incredible, but I absolutely love it and it’s made me even more determined to succeed,” says Tim, who was born in Wigan but brought up in St Helens and has been at the club since the age of 10.
“I think the biggest difference from the Development Squad to the first team comes in terms of the professionalism. The lads laugh and joke off the pitch, and the banter is fierce, but as soon as training starts, they switch on immediately. And for me that’s a lesson I’ve loved learning because that suits my personality completely.
“I’m here to work, to learn, and it’s shown me you need to be switched on for every minute of every training session, especially when the gaffer wants us to be a pressing, high energy team.
“I think I’ve improved over the last month, I couldn’t not have. I know the level I have to reach every day. It’s exhausting but it’s been great.”
Chow says the manager and the players have all been really supportive. “I’ve only ever had encouragement and praise from the gaffer, and I know the same goes for Jenno (Ryan Jennings) who’s here as well.
“The lads have been different class with us as well, helped us to feel comfortable and advised us too.”
Chow says he had several targets when last season finished, and so far he’s managed to tick all the boxes.
“Firstly, of course,” he says, “I needed the club to show faith in me and offer me a deal. When that happened I was made up but I know that was just the starting point.
“I told myself I wanted to be involved in pre-season with the first team and get myself on the first Germany trip. That happened then I said I wanted to be involved in the matches. That happened too. Then I wanted to get on the second Germany trip and that’s happened.”
And for the rest of the season?
“Well, of course I’m realistic, I know I’m not going to walk into the team, especially with the competition there is in midfield. But I still would like to push for a place in the squad if possible, try and get some game time, whether that’s here or on loan somewhere. You have to aim high, otherwise what’s the point of being here?”
Chow points to the example of the other young players who have come through the youth system. “You look at Rob Kiernan, Callum McManaman and Lee Nicholls. They all went on loan to gain experience and maybe that’s an opportunity I’ll get. It just shows that you need the right attitude, and the belief in yourself.”
With a troubled injury plagues season now behind him, Chow is looking only forwards.
“I broke my foot and it took me a long time to get back. The club were fantastic in helping me and now I’m just desperate to repay that faith. I know in football, though, it’s one step at a time and whatever happens during the season I know that the experiences I get here in Germany will stay with me.”