Former Tottenham full-back Jaden Brown has opened up on the humbling experience he had on loan at Exeter City last season.
Brown left Spurs to join Huddersfield Town in January 2019 and he was immediately loaned to League Two side Exeter City in order to gain some experience.
However, the left-back didn’t play a single game during his loan spell and he has now revealed that it was an emotionally testing time for him.
The defender also talked about how the difference between the facilities at Hotspur Way and the League Two club were night and day, waking him up to the harsh realities of the sport.
Speaking to in an Instagram Live interview with Darnell Simpson-Tomlinson (as relayed by Examiner Live), the former Spurs academy product said: “I had two bad years [at Spurs] but then my last year was a good year.
“Personally I just felt it was the right time for me [to leave]. Maybe the coaches didn’t but I felt like it was, and sometimes I’m right sometimes I’m wrong.
“I left Spurs and went to Huddersfield and I went straight out on loan [to Exeter] and I didn’t play a minute, so I’m thinking ‘maybe I’m wrong’. But it’s made me hungrier.
“Exeter is a great club but those three months were probably the hardest three months of my career: you’re not playing but feeling like you should play, you’re far away from friends, family.
“I’ve just come from Tottenham so I’ve come from a nice training ground, nice changing rooms…it humbled me a bit more, even going to training on astro because the grass isn’t good enough or jumping in a minibus, doing my own pre-match, all of that – it made me see the other side of the game.
“It’s not all nice, it’s not all glamorous, it’s not what everyone thinks it is. It’s a brutal sport. I realised that on loan.
“If you ask my friends, I’m very confident, in the way I talk, the way I move, even on the pitch. But that humbled me a lot. It didn’t knock my confidence at all but it made me see the game differently.
“I wanted to come back because the new gaffer [Siewert] came in and he was giving a few chances to younger players in the Premier League, but at the same time I couldn’t play because I’d already played for Tottenham U23s and Exeter U23s so I couldn’t play any competition games for Huddersfield.
“I was disappointed about that because I felt like I would have got a chance but at the same time I went back and I decided to work hard in front of the manager and prove to him that I was a good player for the next season really.”
Although Brown did not get too many opportunities at the start of this season for Huddersfield, he has managed to win a place in the side and gone on to make 16 appearances for the Championship club this season (transfermarkt).
The 21-year-old also opened up on the difficulty of breaking into the Terriers’ side and the delight he felt on making his debut.
He added: “Last season I was always preparing myself for this season. I just had a feeling that I was going to get my chance because of how hungry I was, especially after coming back from my loan.
“Pre-season came and I thought I did well. The gaffer gave me indications I’d done well, he moved me into the first-team dressing room…little stuff like that gives you that crazy confidence where you’re like ‘put me in, I might not be ready but I want to play and take my chance’.
“I played against Lincoln in the Carabao Cup and it hit me. You know when you feel like you’re so confident and then you get a reality check and you’re like ‘this is the real game’?
“I didn’t play bad but I didn’t take my chance. There were a few games I got put in the stands but then the manager got sacked and Mark Hudson took over for three or four weeks.
“I remember in training we were doing shape work and he called out my name and I was like ‘nah, he can’t be calling out my name, my league debut, it can’t be’. But he called out my name and everyone was gassing me up: Trev, KG.
“Throughout the whole shape work I’m just thinking about the next day: ‘I’m actually starting in the Championship, it’s crazy’. I just wanted the next day to come.
“I was calm that night but the next day I didn’t want to eat, I didn’t want to drink, I was so nervous! I just wanted to step on the pitch and as soon as I did I just felt ‘I’m ready for this’.”
Spurs Web Opinion
Brown’s experience on loan perfectly encapsulates why it is important for young players to be loaned out to lower league teams. It is important for youngsters, especially of this generation, to be exposed to the harsh realities of football so that they appreciate what they have and don’t take their talent for granted.
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