October 24th, 2016

George Thomas feels right at home with the Sky Blues

Updated: 10:06 am, May 28, 2015

IT MAY state rivals Leicester as his place of birth but George Thomas says he feels right at home with the Sky Blues having progressed through the club’s academy into the first-team frame this season.

The 18-year-old has made a remarkable journey through the club’s academy having joined at the age of nine after trials at Aston Villa and home-town club Leicester City.

Since then hard work, dedication and a positive attitude has seen Thomas rise up the youth set up and earlier this month he signed his first two-year professional deal.

Supporters have seen glimpses of what he is all about having produced a series of determined displays from the bench in recent months.

But looking ahead to the new season, Thomas wants to make his mark on the first team and open a new chapter of his already amazing story.

“This club has given me a chance to play professional football and I love being here,” Thomas told the Observer.

“When you come through the academy and see the likes of Conor Thomas and Jordan Willis for example go through into the first team it does fill you with hope.

“My hopes and aspirations are to play at the top level both for club and country and I really want that to be with Coventry City.

“The new manager came in and he told it how it was – we had to stay up and that’s what everyone’s focus was including mine.

“I want to really push myself over the summer and get a good pre-season behind me so I’m ready to make a push for the first team.

“I’ll always give my all for the club whether that be for the under-21s or the first team.”

Thomas has come through the youth ranks with another popular player James Maddison who many, including current boss Mowbray, have tipped to have a bright future in the sport.

And Thomas is confident both Maddison and himself can play a big part in a push for promotion to the Championship next season, especially following the departure of Frank Nouble, Simeone Jackson and Blair Turgott.

“I’d like to think that one day both myself and James (Maddison) will play alongside each other in the first team.

“We’ve both come through the youth teams together through the same age group so we’re really good mates on and off the pitch.

“He’s proved himself in the first team and been given opportunities and I’m sure I’ll get the same opportunities as him.

“We’re very similar players in that we’re both attacking midfielders but I think we both compliment each other’s game. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses but I know I’ve got to be patient and when my chance comes I need to take it.”

It has been quite a year for Thomas who became the club’s third youngest player ever after making his debut away at Leyton Orient in January 2014 before going on to make seven first-team appearances last season.

The Wales Under-19s international, who recalls first playing football on a beach in Wales with his grandad, admits it has been a bit of a whirlwind but he says he does not feel out of place being part of the first team.

“I remember my first training session with the first team. Each week one of us got a chance to train at Ryton and when I was chosen I was very excited.

“We took part in a 11v11 match on the training pitch and it was very different. It was a big step up but at the same time it was great to get a taste of it and it was a fantastic experience.

“I think the intensity and speed are so much faster at first team level – that’s the big difference.”

The next step on Thomas’ journey was to make his debut and looking back on that Tuesday night at Leyton Orient it is evidently clear just how big of a moment that was for the teenager and how much he owes to former boss Steven Pressley for making it happen.

“I’m not saying I cried or anything but it was an emotional moment for me. It was what I had put all the hard work in for.

“I remember sitting in the dressing room and the gaffer was reading the team out.

“I usually listen to him read out the starting eleven but then I heard him call my name out.

I didn’t really have time to think. I just grabbed my bib, went out with the rest of the team and got warmed up.

“I can’t speak highly enough of Steven Pressley. He is the manager who has given me my first chance of first team football and I will always be thankful of that.

“He had real faith in the young players and did well in bringing lots of young players through. You’d see him at the Under-18s games and that made me want to play well and make an impression.

“I want to say thanks to all those coaches and staff who have helped in my development and made me the player I am today.”

His ambitions do not just lie at club level. After representing Wales at Under-19 level, Thomas has admits he enjoys being away with different players from other clubs.

And just like his journey with the Sky Blues, he is hoping to progress through the Welsh ranks and would relish the opportunity to play alongside the likes of Gareth Bale and Arron Ramsey at the top level.

He added: “I got spotted by Wales I think because of Cian Harries who was already involved with the squad at the time.

“Once I found out I was selected for the Under-17 squad I was very proud and honoured. It really meant a lot to me and my family.

“Being away with the Wales squad had given me some fantastic experiences. I’ve visited so many countries with the squad like Portugal and Montenegro, and it also gives you a chance to meet and play with lots of other talented players.

“Harry Wilson is the best player I’ve played with for Wales. He’s a real talent so it’s nice to be able to go away with the Wales team.”