We're kicking off our Academy Day celebrations with a sit down conversation with recent first team debutant Saul Fox-Akande.
After impressing throughout the season for the U18s, attacker Saul Fox-Akande featured on the Shrimps’ bench in the FA Cup third round at Swansea City, before making his senior debut in our Sky Bet League Two clash against Colchester United on Saturday 27 January.
This week, we caught up with the 17-year-old forward to talk about his time at the club so far.
“I joined Morecambe not too long ago, it was near the end of U16 [level], after leaving other clubs," he said.
“I went to exit trials and was given the opportunity to come [on] trial for Morecambe, where I then signed my scholarship after my first game for the U18s.
“In the past year-and-a-half at the club, I’ve enjoyed it a lot; I felt like everyone was very welcoming and made it easy for me to settle in. I think the coaches have helped me massively throughout my time here, just in general.
“An example [of this] is in my first year. I wasn’t scoring as much as I would have wanted, but Ollie [Ras] and Wainy [Neil Wainwright] have helped me work on my positioning as a striker, to be in the right areas to get those chances and shoot whenever possible.”
The youngster has enjoyed a prolific season in front of goal for the Academy this season to-date.
Speaking on his current form and campaign, he said: “I think my season so far has been good, I’ve scored a lot of goals this season and overall the lads have been great.
“We’ve got a good chance to win the league, if we work hard now for the last few months, we are a great group of lads.”
As a reward for his performances on the pitch with the Academy, Fox-Akande made the step up to train with the first team throughout the week.
“I’ve been training with them for the past few months now," he continued.
“It’s been great for me to be in and around it, just to get experience and learn, as ultimately it’s what I want to do.”
Earlier this month, the forward was named as a substitute in Wales, speaking on that day, he said: “The first time I was on the bench was against Swansea [City] in the FA Cup.
“It was a good experience, especially because Swansea was not [too] long ago in the Premier League. I found out the day before that I was going to be travelling to be in the squad, so I was excited for that.”
After continuing to impress behind-the-scenes, the rewards kept coming for the youngster.
“I was on the bench again [against Colchester United] when I made my debut. I had just finished warming-up on the side of the pitch and went back to sit down and the gaffer told me to get ready; I was going to be brought on.
“Everyone was being supportive, saying good luck and make sure you enjoy it. Before coming on, I was really excited, as I’ve been working up to this moment ever since I started playing football.”
Fox-Akande replaced Ged Garner on 84 minutes in what was an extremely proud moment for everyone involved.
He continued: “As soon as I got on [the pitch], I just had to focus on the game, and was just thinking get in the box and just try and get any shots off, if possible.
“Now I’ve made my debut, the hard work doesn’t stop now, as it’s just the start.”