Preston North End teenager Josh Seary's learning curve against Liverpool and his aim to be part of the first-team squad

I played in our Lancashire FA Senior Cup tie against Liverpool in midweek and it was a real learning curve.
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We came up against players who’d had Champions League and Premier League appearances, so we knew it would be a tough afternoon. But it’s good for us young lads to come up against teams like that, it is valuable experience.

Liverpool’s movement as very quick, you had to be switched on and alive to how they wanted to move the ball.

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It was a lot different to when we play teams on a Saturday in the youth league – Liverpool were so much sharper.

Preston North End's Josh SearyPreston North End's Josh Seary
Preston North End's Josh Seary

I’m from Kirkby in Liverpool and I’m a big Liverpool fan. I was on their books before I signed for Preston and the academy was only five minutes from my house.

I first went to Liverpool when I was six and then signed my first contract aged nine. Lewis Leigh who is in the academy here, was the year above me.

They released me when I was in the Under-13s which was disappointing at the time, as it would be any player.

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I didn’t really play football for a couple of months after that and then I went to grassroots for a bit to get my confidence back.

Preston North End full-back Josh Seary in training. Pic courtesy of Ian Robinson/PNEFCPreston North End full-back Josh Seary in training. Pic courtesy of Ian Robinson/PNEFC
Preston North End full-back Josh Seary in training. Pic courtesy of Ian Robinson/PNEFC

After that I had trials at Preston, Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic and I probably had the chance to sign for them all.

Preston just looked like the right place and thankfully that has proved to be the case.

I came here when I was Under-14s and when I was at Under-15s level I started to play in the youth team which was good.

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Playing in the Under-18s when I was 15 really helped with my development.

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When I signed on as a scholar, I got a pro contract which was sorted just before my 17th birthday. That runs through to the summer of 2024.

Pre-season was a good experience for me because I trained and played with the first-team squad.

Playing at St Johnstone and Celtic was brilliant, it would have been even better had more fans been allowed in for those games.

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I’ve since gone back to Springfields to train at the academy because when the gaffer came in, he wanted everything to settle down and have the first-team players together.

Hopefully when pre-season comes around this summer, I can get back with the first-team squad and show what I can do.

I’m playing wing-back now, I used to be a right-back but then we switched system. I think it suits my game better because I can get up and down the pitch.

It’s a bit tough on the legs when you’re playing Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday but I need to get my body used to doing that and being in a first-team environment.

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At international level, I played for the Republic of Ireland’s Under-19s. I qualify through my nan – I think most people in Liverpool would qualify to play for Ireland!

We’ve got the elite stage of the European Championship qualifiers coming up later this month when we play England, Portugal and Armenia.

All those games are being in England so there’s very little travelling involved.

We won through to this stage at the end of year, coming through three qualifiers held in Bulgaria.