TYLER Walton has admitted his mum and York City sporting director Dave Penney stopped him from turning his back on football.

The 19-year-old midfielder was released by Leeds, Barnsley and Manchester City as a schoolboy and, when he told he was surplus to requirements at Bootham Crescent in the summer just months after signing professional terms, he thought about walking away from the game.

Not for the first time, his mother told Walton not to throw the towel in and he was thrown a lifeline when then Guiseley assistant-manager Penney invited him for a trial with the National League outfit.

Shortly afterwards, though, Penney left the Leeds part-timers before taking up his current role and, in a peculiar twist of fate, that appointment led to Walton returning to the club that discarded him in May.

Summarising an eventful six months, Walton admitted: “I’ve said many times before that I’ve wanted to stop playing football, but my mum and other people have told me to keep going and my chance will come. When I left York, I thought I’d give it another go and I was at Guiseley with Dave Penney just after pre-season where I trained and played a few trial games.

“But he ended up leaving – I don’t know why – and then I got a phone call from him telling me that he was at York now and wanted me to come down and play a couple of reserve games. Then, the gaffer looked at me and it led to me coming back for a second chance.”

Walton made his senior debut as a 17-year-old substitute at Torquay last September, but he didn’t get a second opportunity under then City boss Jackie McNamara and was overlooked completely for first-XI selection by the Scotsman’s successor Gary Mills.

Reflecting on that experience, Walton confessed: “Last season was difficult. I always wanted to be part of the team and, whilst I was part of things because I got on the bench at Lincoln when the lads did the business and got the club to Wembley, I never made it into the starting XI.

“York’s a massive club and it was like a dream come true to get pro terms at 17 last season. I was really happy, so being released was a bit of a knockback but, coming back and getting another go, shows I must have ability and, hopefully, this gaffer trusts me.”

Walton certainly feels more wanted in North Yorkshire now after manager Martin Gray described the former Leeds Sixth Form College pupil as “my type of player.”

Offering his thoughts on the Minstermen’s new management team, Walton added: “Hearing the manager say what he did gave me a bit of a boost.

“If he likes what I’m doing, I’ll keep doing that and work even harder, especially on the stuff that I’m not as good at, because I want to get some appearances. I also like Dave (Penney).

“He’s a nice guy who gets along with all of the lads. The gaffer also joins in training sometimes and has a bit of a laugh and I think it’s important that you have those relationships with the manager and his assistant.”

Despite being on the receiving end of three heavy reserve defeats with the Minstermen in recent weeks against Port Vale (3-1), Mansfield (5-0) and Walsall (7-1), Walton also feels the Central League contests are still worthwhile exercises as he attempts to prove his first-team credentials.

Youth-team coach Steve Torpey, who was in charge of the visitors during Wednesday’s defeat at Walsall, singled Walton out as one of three players who came out of the match with any credit.

Giving his views on the game and the merits of second-string football, Walton reasoned: “You sometimes have to give the opposition credit, because Walsall had some good players, but we started slowly and panicked when they pressed high up the pitch, which meant we started hitting too many long balls.

“They’re still good games to have because some of the sides you play in reserve games are better than those you’re up against in the first-team matches on Saturday. They are good for people like me, as I want to show the gaffer what I can do, because I want to be in his plans.”