Fleetwood Town’s breakthrough star Nathan Sheron says his loan spells in non-league football aided his rise to the first team.
READ MORE: Joey Barton goes back to school ahead of FA Cup test
Sheron, 21, was loaned to Chorley in 2016-17, then to Chester and Southport last season. When Joey Barton took over as head coach in the summer he stressed his desire to give youth a chance and to create pathways like the one that saw him progress from Manchester City’s academy.
Sheron became the first product of Town’s academy to play for the first team in League One at Oxford in August and now he is in contention to start Sunday’s FA Cup first round tie at National League North club Alfreton Town.
Having played at that level, the versatile defender or midfielder knows what to expect in his first taste of FA Cup football.
And Sheron says non-league was important to his development as he bids to become a League One regular.
He said: “The loans were massively important for me because it was men’s football. Under-23 football and development football are good games for you but they are not men’s football, where you are fighting for three points every game.
“The loans were massive for me. I learned how to compete, how to get involved and get stuck in.
“It is more than just a game because some of those players are fighting for their futures.”
There is a chance for some of Town’s other U18 players to impress first-team boss Joey Barton when they take on Bury in the second round of the FA Youth Cup at Gigg Lane tonight (7.30pm).
And Sheron is grateful to Barton for giving him his big chance. “He has stuck by his word and he has trust in me. I cannot be any more thankful for the opportunity,” he said.