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Interviews

Ashley-Seal: There is something to play for here

The full interview with Benny Ashley-Seal from Saturday's programme is available to read below

9 March 2020

After being a man in demand at every age level, Benny Ashley-Seal now admits that he is happy to be playing regular men’s football while on loan at the Wham Stadium.

Born in South London, Ashley-Seal actually grew up playing for both North London clubs, and the striker feels as though The Gunners have played a key role in his development. 

“I was scouted from Sunday league football and I was at Tottenham for a few years, but I left there when I was about 11 to join Arsenal.

“They were a massive club and for me it was about learning the basics of the game, and just the little things like learning how to distribute the ball well.

“At that young age they were also technically good for me as well and I feel as though they have been a big influence on my career.” 

After joining Norwich City in 2015, the 21-year-old then made the decision to reject a professional contract with The Canaries, a choice that he says was extremely difficult for himself and his family.

“It was a tough decision to make as I was with the first team but I felt as though I should have been with them a bit more often.

“At that time I felt as though it was best for me to go elsewhere, it was massive because we did believe I had a big future at Norwich and the club believed me as well.

“Norwich were the right team for me when I joined but we all felt as though it was the right time for me to move on.”

Ashley-Seal went and trained with a number of different clubs including Chelsea and Leicester City, but after just one training session with Wolverhampton Wanderers, he admits that he knew they were the club for him.

“It was just the structure and the first training session I had with them, I just enjoyed it and I felt like it was a good club.

“For me it was all about enjoying my football, I didn’t overly care where I went because I just wanted to be playing regular football.”

At that time, Wolves were having an unbelievable season in the Championship and the striker explains how it was a good for a youngster like himself to be part of a winning environment.

“It was very good and it was a strange one for me because it was quite an experience for everyone at the club.

“Obviously I was with the Under-23s, but just looking in and seeing the little things they do and how much it meant to win was a big thing for me.

“It was the first time I had been in the environment of a club winning something big and an actual trophy, so it was a good start to life at Wolves.”

The youngster was then invited to go to Switzerland as part of the first team’s pre-season tour, and he admits that going away had given him even more desire to make the transition into the first team.

“At the start I wasn’t too sure what to think about it because most young players get taken on the pre-season tour.

“It was the best time to go with them because it gave me a little taste of what it is like to be in a first team environment.

“Going on the tour certainly made me hungry for more, because once you’ve been there you don’t want to look back as that is the dream goal.”

Since taking over at Wolves, Nuno Espirito Santo has earned a lot of plaudits within English football and Ashley-Seal is also full of praise for the former Valencia and Porto manager.

“He’s been very good for me with the little things he does, he’s probably one of the best motivators I’ve had with the way he speaks to you.

“It’s hard to explain but he’s good at what he does, he’s a very good manager and he’s good tactically as well.

“When he speaks you want to listen and he demands a lot from you, which in turn makes you demand a lot from yourself.”

The Southwark-born striker was rewarded with a new contract last year before going to Portugal to join Famalicao on loan, a move that he feels was an instrumental experience in his development.

“It always makes you feel good and it does give you the belief that the club does have faith in you.

“Obviously the loan move was to another country, and I had to learn a new language and a new culture, but if you want it that bad then you’ll go anywhere and do whatever it takes.

“At the time it was what Wolves wanted, what Nuno wanted and Famalicao really wanted me and they did everything they could.

“It was a good learning curve and a good experience, even though I wasn’t playing it still felt good to be a part of a team that achieved promotion.”

After making his full first team debut for Wolves against Manchester United, Ashley-Seal then joined Stanley on loan and he admits that his decision was made due to the Reds being very keen to sign him.

“I first heard of the interest about two weeks before deadline day, and at first everything was moving quite slowly because I wasn’t meant to go out on loan.

“It was frustrating at the time because I didn’t know what was happening, but Accrington seemed keen and I’m now enjoying my time at the club."

The Wolves-loanee has made five appearances since joining the club and he admits that more Premier League youngsters should try and make the step to play more men’s football.

“Getting the experience of league football and wanting to do well on a personal note are my aims and then I can see where it takes me ahead of next season.

“I think that more younger players at the Premier League clubs should try to go out on loan to the lower leagues to see what it’s like at this level.

“There is something to play for here and you can always work your way up to the top, and my target is to score as many goals as I can until the end of the season and see what happens next."


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