Rising star Nathan Smith says he will “play every game like it’s your last game” as he talks about his rise to prominence with the Boot Room website.
After an excellent loan spell with Torquay United last season, Smith has slotted seamlessly into the Vale defence and was named as the Football League’s young player of the month for August. The youngster has now been linked with a move to a Premier League club.
I just want to play as many games as I can and do as well as possible for the club…
He told the Boot Room that advice given to him while in the Port Vale academy still resonate: “I remember being told play every game like it’s your last game. And basically it makes me think don’t play with any regrets and come off thinking I could’ve done this or that differently, that’s the thing that stuck with me.”
Smith also credits the loans spell with Stafford Rangers and Torquay as instrumental. His first spell was with Stafford and he said: “It was my first loan spell, so it felt a bit weird going out and away from the club, but regular competitive football definitely improved me as a player and again I’d advise any young players to go out and get games if the opportunity is there.
“I’d say playing games, competitive football against men is definitely something I’d advise to anyone coming through the youth system.”
It has definitely helped my development the most so far. It was the step I needed to move forward…
“Playing competitive football, there’s nothing like it, you can’t recreate that in the academy.”
The Torquay spell was arguably even more influential and Smith added: “The experience helped me grow up, especially living away from home and going down to Torquay. It has definitely helped my development the most so far. It was the step I needed to move forward.”
What are his goals now? He adds “At the start of the season I was planning on hopefully just getting into the side here and there but he’s given me my chance and hopefully I can continue doing well..
“My personal target is just to play as many games as possible really. At the start of the season it was to get into the team, I’ve done that so of course that has changed. So now I just want to play as many games as I can and do as well as possible for the club.
He also has praise for Port Vale manager Bruno Ribeiro commenting: “I’m enjoying life under Bruno massively. He’s given me my chance and its made my career progress quicker than I thought.”
Smith also spelt out his goal for the season adding: “As a club, our ambitions for the season are definitely to reach the playoffs and be in the promotion mix, we can’t look at anything else. Anything else would be a failure I guess.”