James Trafford has picked up Ederson’s work ethic in his bid to make it at Manchester City as the Bolton Wanderers loanee opened up on how his family’s farming background helped prepare him for a football journey of hard graft and success.
The 19-year-old is currently away from City at Wanderers, getting minutes under his belt for the League One side.
It is a loan spell which has started off well, with the prospect keeping a pair of clean sheets in his first two Bolton appearances against Ipswich Town and Shrewsbury Town.
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The ambitious Trafford has made no secret of his desire to be City’s number one eventually and revealed how the goalkeeping unit of him, Ederson, Zack Steffen and Scott Carson all push each other on.
He is in communication with City’s goalkeeping coaches Richard Wright and Xabier Macazaga during his time at Wanderers as he improves his experience of men’s football.
And he revealed that once Wanderers came in for him, he jumped at the chance to make the move to the University of Bolton Stadium and the style of play Ian Evatt’s team has.
Of his time at City last season, he told the Manchester Evening News: “It’s really intense when we’re working.
“There’s no days off and that’s the thing I learned most is that last season when I was a scholar, Ederson was full throttle every day, because if he’s not then Steffen has a chance to get ahead, Carson has a chance to get ahead, I would have had the chance to get ahead.
“So everyday, everyone is training as hard as they can to the highest level they can, but then off the pitch everyone is good mates. No one holds anything against each other.
“I discuss it a lot of it with the goalie staff so Xavi and Rich, but they just wanted me to play but also develop as a person and just get the mindset of a pro, how you have to be at it everyday whether you’ re not enjoying it or you’re enjoying it, and then perform in front of whether it was 13,000 at the weekend because when you get to that level, there’s no small crowds and the pressure that comes with it.
“I always wanted to move in January and I had my heart set on going out and playing, whether it was League Two, League One, abroad. I just wanted to play and develop because I wanted to be happy and playing and developing because it does not really matter the level as I’ve only just turned 19.
“Obviously I want to play as high as I can but then as soon as Bolton came in for me, it was a no brainer. Even though there was a lot of pressure, I didn’t really feel it but from the outside and other people looking in would have seen ‘there’s a lot of pressure on this young lad’ especially getting thrown straight in.
“Maybe it would have been a move that other people in my position would have said no to, just because of the pressure and the feel if it goes wrong.
“As soon as my agent told me, I said yeah, I want to come into Bolton. I’ve seen how they played and they play how I want to play. It was a no brainer and I really wanted to do it.”
Trafford is from Cumbria, born in Cockermouth and grew up in Greysouthern in a farming family.
In the off-season, he goes back home to help his dad back on the farm, which has livestock including cows and sheep, as well as crops.
The goalkeeper opened up on how his farming background has drilled into him from an early age and that he expected at one stage to become a farmer himself, which he joked was an excuse for not working as hard as he might at school.
And even now with a budding career in football for one of the biggest teams in the world, he still holds dear the memories of his younger days on his parents’ farm and why he relishes still helping his dad over the summer.
He said: “It has been drilled into me ever since I’ve been young, just working hard and being disciplined. It’s come from all my family really because all my family are farmers. No-one really does anything else apart from farming in my family, apart from my older cousin who is a dentist and even that was a bit frowned upon!
“He should have either been a farmer or a jockey and it was similar to me. I still have to explain a few things to my dad like the offside rule because he doesn’t really know much about football and it’s only since I’ve played since I was seven or eight, he’s had to put an interest in it, because if he doesn’t then all them Sunday mornings at Frenchfields when I was at Carlisle would have long.
“Being farmers, my mum and dad are lambing at the moment so they get up every three hours to go out and check the sheep. It’s all been just bred in me to be disciplined and to just work as hard as you can really.
“When I was younger, I was always a big farm lad and I always used to have my dad’s toy farm and play with it when I was younger and then I don’t even know what got me into football. I can’t even remember but I always really enjoyed the farm and when I was in secondary school, if I wasn’t working hard, I was like ‘I’m going to be a farmer, I don’t need these grades! ‘
“That was my excuse so maybe if football does not work out, I’ll go into farming.
“We have cows but we don’t milk them. We have sheep that we lamb and everything with them. We grow crops so in the off-season I do tend to help out.
“I just tend to sit on the combine with my dad or lead barley with my dad, so he goes into the field with his trailer and gets the barley and drives.
“I just sit in with him because I just enjoy it as it’s what I used to do when I was a real young lad. I used to love it, just sitting on the tractor watching my dad and everything and then before I learned to drive , I had to drive a tractor around the fields.
“It’s something I enjoy doing in the off-season and not reminiscing, but just a reminder of the good times when I was younger.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.