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Season preview: Tom Platt taps in to top pair
6:00pm Wednesday 8th August 2012 in Sport
Teenage youth team product Tom Platt is relishing the step up to York City’s first-team, as he tells DAVE FLETT.
TEENAGE York City midfielder Tom Platt is looking forward to tapping into the knowledge of 30-something pair Scott Kerr and Lee Bullock during his first season as a professional.
Platt has signed first-year pro terms after captaining the under-18s last season and winning the youth team’s player of the year award.
He has been earmarked as an exciting prospect by Minstermen chief Gary Mills and, as he embarks on his senior career, Platt believes he has two great role models in Kerr and Bullock, who will both be plying their trade at the age of 31 next season.
Ex-Bradford and Lincoln midfielder Kerr won three Player of the Year awards with City last season despite suffering a knee ligament injury that kept him sidelined for the final two months.
Returning Minsterman Bullock, meanwhile, has played more than 400 games at Football League level and, on working alongside both, Platt said: “I look up to Scott Kerr.
“He’s a really good player and he’s been there and done it because he has a lot of experience. If I model my game on his, I won’t go too far wrong.
“I like his aggression – he breaks up play and is really good with the ball as well. He hardly ever gives it away and ball retention is really important if you play for a team that likes to play football.
“Lee Bullock’s been around and knows the game as well. I can definitely take a few tips off of them and they can help me out.”
Platt also feels he will benefit from his loan spell at Harrogate Town at the end of last season, where he enjoyed a physical baptism to senior football in the midst of a successful Blue Square Bet North relegation dogfight.
The strapping 19-year-old netted twice in ten outings for the Wetherby Road outfit, including the final goal of the season during a decisive 5-0 closing day triumph at Corby Town.
On his time with Harrogate, Platt said: “It was a really good experience. I had never played proper men’s football for three points and we were fighting a relegation battle so there was a lot to play for.
“Physically, it was a bit different to youth-team football. Every player was my size and I thought I coped with that quite well, which should stand me in good stead for next season.”
While Platt was impressing Harrogate fans, however, first-year apprentice Reece Kelly was making his debut for the Minstermen against Forest Green in a match that Mills later admitted he would have liked to have blooded the juniors’ skipper too.
“It was disappointing in a way,” Platt confessed after missing out on representing the team he first joined nine years ago. “But I was playing in a really big game at Harrogate and, after winning 5-0 with me scoring the final goal, I enjoyed that as well. It was good to finish off like that at Harrogate so, while missing out on a game with York was disappointing, hopefully there will be opportunities next season to make up for that.”
Citing Centre of Excellence coaches John Stockton and Andy Snell as big influences on his career, as well as more recent mentors Mills and youth-team coach Steve Torpey, former Easingwold School pupil Platt admitted that landing a pro deal with the team he first represented at the age of ten is a big thrill.
“It’s absolutely amazing and the best feeling ever,” he enthused. “It feels like all my hard work has paid off.”
Platt believes that next season’s second-year scholars, including Kelly, will provide the club with a very promising under-18 team in 2012/13.
He also welcomed the return of Football League funding for the youth programme, which was withdrawn six years ago.
Platt added: “Reece is a good, quick player and, from playing with the first years last season, I think there are a few good players. It’s been a bit of a struggle with the youth team being short on funding but, hopefully, promotion will make it easier now for the youth team to carry on and the club can bring more players through.”