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From pulling pints to pushing for goals with Wimbledon

Adam Roscrow interviewed after his promising return

24 February 2020

Adam Roscrow is determined to build on his encouraging cameo on Saturday after coming through a testing time since joining Wimbledon last summer.

Thigh injuries have restricted Adam’s progress since signing his first professional contract at the age of 24, the striker having swapped university and part-time teaching for a career in football.

Speaking about his first-team return on Saturday, Adam said: “I’ve had to bide my time and be patient as I’ve had a few injuries. That’s not been ideal, so it was nice to get out there for a good length of time and show a little bit of what I can do. It’s just a case of slowly building up the minutes when I can. Hopefully, I can get another game in on Tuesday.

“The support from the rest of the boys has been really good. Hopefully, if I can get a little bit sharper and quicker then that goal will come for me.   

“I think it was important for us to get something on the back of our result on Tuesday. We had to try and forget about that and move on. We worked hard for the point. Conditions were difficult. I think a point was deserved. We were a little disappointed not to get all three, but we will certainly take a point. Tranmere are not too far behind us, certainly if you look at what Wimbledon did last year. It’s not impossible (for them to catch us), so we need to keep chipping away and getting those points. If we can try and catch the teams above us, rather than looking over our shoulders, we can try to get as far away from the drop zone as possible.”

In case you missed our full programme interview in a recent edition with Adam, it is reproduced in full below.

A look back at how hard he grafted to earn his first professional contract, has offered Adam Roscrow a sense of perspective as he makes his way back from an injury-hit start to his football career.

“When you are in the gym every day it can get a bit tedious, but I had to say to myself ‘this is what I have been working towards for all my life’. I’ve just had to dig in, get through those difficult times, and thankfully I’m coming through it now as I’m fit again.

“Fighting against the odds is what this club is about and I think this team is really showing that at the moment. The quality of the squad has always been there and we have a focus in training of working hard to better ourselves.”

Certainly, Adam is relishing a challenge that is far removed from his first year at university when he was pulling pints behind the bar.

“I started working as a barman in a local pub when I was 18, but I ended up working Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day, so that was it for me! I didn’t fancy being on that side of the bar at Christmas time! I was quite fortunate that I got to work in a school as a sports coach. That was really flexible and the people in the school were really good to me.

“I could go to university, play football, and work alongside that. Then I did a bit of lecturing for a year, so that was really good. I was lecturing about different coaching methods through the medium of football. Students would have to partake in different sports and it was about different aspects of coaching through football. I was fortunate that I lived at home while I was at university, which helped massively, particularly in terms of finance.”

Adam, who was brought up in Llanwit Major, a small town in Glamorgan, South Wales, spent a year as a teenager with Swansea City and had trials at Ipswich Town. A career in football was something that Adam thought had passed him by and he completed a degree in Sports Performance Analysis, before gaining a Masters in Sports Coaching and Pedagogy at Cardiff Metropolitan University. 

“Playing football professionally was not something I ever thought would happen. You are told at an earlier age that you shouldn’t expect something to materialise from football, but if it happens then that’s great. That would be my advice to younger kids in academies. When it gets to the crux of it and being offered a pro deal, they shouldn’t expect anything. It can really get to you if it doesn’t happen. For me, I never expected it to happen, certainly not at the age of 24. I count myself as being quite fortunate and quite lucky that Wimbledon were willing to take a chance on me.

“When I was 15 I don’t think anyone knew where to play me. I remember playing a game for Swansea against Yeovil and I started off playing at centre-back for half an hour, before being moved to central midfield for half an hour, and then I ended the game playing up front! When I started playing at university I became more of an attacking midfielder. I had trials at various places and got put at centre-back when I was on trial at Ipswich Town. I said ‘I’m really not a centre-back!’ It wasn’t until I went to Cardiff Met that I became a striker, though I had played there when I was younger. We had a few injuries and I ended up getting thrown up there for a game.

“I played for Cardiff Met for six years. When we played in Welsh League Division Two I scored 28 goals in one season, but that’s obviously a fair bit of a lower level. In my last season in the Welsh Premier League I scored 21 in all competitions.”

Adam started playing football at his local club Llanwit Major from the age of five and one season with Swansea City as a teenager was his only past experience with a professional club before Wimbledon came calling in the summer. After being released by Swansea, Adam played for Llanwit Major and Neath, before starting his studies at Cardiff Met, where he helped play a big part in the rise of his university’s football team.

“I played for Cardiff Met for six years. When I started at Cardiff Met we were in Welsh League Division Two and we got promoted in my first year. We then spent two years in Division One, before getting into the Welsh Premier, where I played for three seasons, before signing for Wimbledon in the summer.

“It was a surprise (when I heard that Wimbledon were interested). I was aware that scouts from one or two clubs were watching me, but it doesn’t mean they are that interested in you. My main contact at Wimbledon was Nick Daws, who was Head of Recruitment. I wasn’t aware that Wimbledon were watching me. I think that’s for the best as maybe you play better when you are not aware of the interest. You just play your natural game when no one is watching you. You aren’t thinking ‘I have to score a hat-trick today, otherwise they are going to think I’m rubbish’.”

Despite having other career options, Adam felt it was the right time to dedicate everything to making it as a footballer when Wimbledon offered him an opportunity. His coach at Cardiff Met was Christian Edwards, who had a long playing career that included spells at Swansea, Nottingham Forest, and Bristol Rovers. Adam added that Christian was a key influence in his decision to make football his number one priority.

“It was at the point when I needed to decide what I was going to do for the long-term. I had just finished my Masters, so there were a few different options to go down. I considered a PHD, but studying further probably wasn’t for me. I had also been teaching part-time at a school as a sports coach and I could have studied to become a full-time PE teacher or tried to go down a coaching route in football. I was a bit torn between a lot of things that I could have done. I spoke to my parents, family, girlfriend, and friends. I also talked a lot to Christian Edwards, my coach at Cardiff Met, as he had moved from football into education. He was always honest with me and would give me a good overview about the different paths I could have taken and not just for the short-term.”

Adam was certainly looking long-term when he gave up the opportunity to play in the Europa League for Cardiff Met against Luxembourg’s Progrès Niederkorn in the Preliminary Round. The Welsh side became the first British student-only team to qualify for Europe with Adam having played a key part in helping the club to rise through the Welsh leagues. However, Adam did not want to risk his big opportunity with Wimbledon by playing in the biggest match so far for the university team.

“When it to making the decision to come here, it was a no-brainer for me, I had to say yes. Wally gave me the chance to go and play in those European games, but that had the risk of injuring myself before the medical. I didn’t want to run the risk of being able to sign my first professional contract. I missed out on the big European qualification match with Cardiff Met, but I had to look at the bigger picture. All of the boys I played with have that European memory and I know they had a really good time, but I’ve now done something they haven’t had the chance to do. From that perspective, I wouldn’t change my decision.”

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