Charlton academy footballer Joseph Ladapo is motivated by the competition for places

The corona virus period has completely shaken the football world upside down, from no fans to delays of competitions and different players not being able to play due to catching the virus.

But in an exclusive interview with UoB Today, 16-year-old striker Joseph talked about how the coronavirus period had affected what is going on at the club as well as the challenges he is still facing with trying to get a professional contract at the club.

Joseph explained how the pandemic has affected training sessions and matches.

“It has affected our training sessions, when we came back to pre-season in July, the first sessions we had to do were non contact and they were social distance, so it was just technical training so that was a change because we’ve never done that before

“We came back to the training ground, we came back in phase one and then we had to go to phase 2 and then phase 3 before we got to normal training full contact so yeah it has affected it.”

Joseph doesn’t feel any financial implications of the virus on the club having a detrimental affect on chances of turning pro :

“I wouldn’t say much has changed my chances of getting a professional contract because we’ve continued our training programme, if anything it’s helped my chances because the first time and the owners will have less money now due to the corona-virus pandemic which means that they didn’t have as much money as potentially before to buy new players for the first team which has led for them to have use young players so if anything the corona-virus has helped my chances

Joseph is 16 years of age, so he just gained a scholarship earlier this year and thus has now become a member of the U18 side, at this stage it is a pivotal time because from now he is eligible to earn a professional contract which is the ultimate goal for any footballer at this stage in his career

“You just have to trust in your ability, I know that I’m here for a reason, I’ve been given a scholarship for a reason because I have potential and I have talent

“I guess it’s just a case of trusting in your ability, knowing how far you can go, there’s obviously a lot of competition, I’m a striker we have 5, 6 strikers so in a way that actually helps because you go to every training session knowing that even if you started on the weekend someone is there trying to push you which does help, in terms of responding with the pressure I think it comes from within you just have to believe in yourself and trust in your ability.”

Joseph appears to have a strong mental approach to the youth academy stage of football with the right confidence and uses the challenge of competition particularly in his position to motivate himself to be better rather than drag him down and make him feel uncomfortable, football is a tough sport not just physically but also mentally so it is impressive to see a 16 year old have this headspace.