Young winger Harvey Barron has discussed the chance to train with the first team squad in 2021, the experience of being called into a 21-man squad, and the Centre of Excellence’s college programme.
The 17-year old Hull FC Academy product picked up his first squad number in recent weeks having been called up into the 21-man squad for both recent games against Wigan.
Standing at 6ft4, Barron is one of the Academy’s hottest prospects and having trained the the Black & White’s first team for the last five months, had had the chance to train with some of the league’s top backs.
Hullfc.com sat down for an in-depth chat with the former England Academy international to find out more about the experience of the last five months for Barron.
Speaking on the chance to train with the first-team squad in 2021, Barron said: “It’s been a great but challenging experience so far. It’s been tough with the physical demands you’re expected to meet and the longer training days than what I’m used to. There are a lot of things that you didn’t know you needed to know, and it’s a big step up from training in the Academy.
“I was quite nervous at first – to be honest, I didn’t feel like I’d done enough to earn the chance to get called up into the first-team. Obviously having no Academy season last year meant we were going into it without any playing or training experience under our belts for the previous nine months.
“But I settled in really quickly. I was worried that we’d get looked down upon as just a few young lads from the Academy, but everyone was fantastic. We’ve been welcomed and supported ever since, and made to feel like we deserve to be amongst that group. The nervousness soon disappeared.
He added: “It’s a massive step-up in intensity. You can never switch off. Your skill has to be spot on every day, and you need to bring your own qualities to the team.”
And Barron explained that he has not only benefitted from training with some of the league’s top backs, but also some of the club’s younger stars who he has found himself looking up to.
“Carlos and Griff are incredibly professional, and that increases the quality and attitude levels of all of those around him.
“The younger backs like myself really look up to them two – you just have to look at the level they’re performing at now to see that the way they prepare themselves in training clearly works.
“But the person I’ve probably looked up to most is Cam Scott. He’s only 21, but you’d think he had been around the game for over ten years with his knowledge and attitude. He’s helped me a lot.
“Adam Swift and Bureta Faraimo have both been great too given that I share my position with them – they’ve really helped with the high-ball side of stuff.”
He continued: “Looking up to those younger lads who have made it in the squad, the likes of Joe Cator and Jordan Lane, makes your goals seem a little bit more achievable and realistic, as we’re on the same route as they are.
“That could be one of us Academy players in a few years time. The pathway is there for young players at the club, and you can see that given that those boys are playing week in, week out.”
Barron, who was picked up by the club’s Academy by their Talent Transfer Programme, was a football player throughout his childhood, and despite interest and trials from clubs including Hull City, Leeds United, Scunthorpe, and York, now finds himself as a key member of the Hull FC Academy side, who he is excited to represent once again in 2021.
“It’s great to have some consistent games back for the Academy this season.
“We haven’t played since February 2020 so its a great feeling to get back out there and playing every week. The intensity is so much higher in proper matches, and you can see your actual progression in action.”
Barron also described the experience of being named in a 21-man squad for the first time in recent weeks, having been named by Brett Hodgson in the squads ahead of both recent matches against Wigan Warriors.
“It made me feel like I was actually progressing and getting somewhere in my development.
“Travelling on the bus with the team, being a part of the Captain’s Run; it makes your realise that the hard work is paying off. Even though I knew I wouldn’t be playing, getting that experience is invaluable.
“That’s the next thing to tick off isn’t it. It’d be the final piece of the jigsaw – making my Super League debut would be an incredible feeling.”
Barron, like many other Academy players, is currently an attendee of the Hull FC College, part of the club’s newly developed Centre of Excellence.
“The Sports College is brilliant – the majority of the Academy team are there too so it’s a great chance for us to bond even more on a daily basis,” he added.
Explaining the daily routine of life within the college, he said: “The days are really good; we get there early, do some weight training, and get your college work done in the morning, before going out and doing your on-field work in the afternoon – that involves all of the college lads as well, not just the Academy players, so gives us the chance to train with more players and learn from each other.
“It’s the perfect balance. I couldn’t think of how much harder it would be if I was learning somewhere else and then had to come in to do my Academy training. The balance in them circumstances would be tough, so being able to do both at the same time is absolutely ideal.”
And Barrow said he would recommend the college to anyone preparing to leave school and take the next steps onto a career in professional sport.
“I’d recommend it to anyone in that position. The tutors and coaches treat everyone seriously, regardless of your ability, so everyone is involved and everyone is pushed to be the best they can. If you wan’t to go into sport in any capacity, I couldn’t recommend it enough.
“The coaches are brilliant. They’re not like a school teacher. They’re chilled out, and treat you more like adult, but still know how to get the best out of you. Their professionalism means they can still get 100% out of all of the students.”
Harvey Barron is proudly sponsored by The Tiger Inn, Beverley. To find out more – click here
The Hull FC Academy is proudly sponsored by G&J Staffing. To find out more – click here