What a few months it has been for 17-year-old Alex Scott: the young Bristol City attacking midfielder has been invited to train with the senior squad, has signed his first professional deal with the Robins, was called up by the England U18s and played against Wales U18s, made his senior bow in the loss at home to Luton Town and then played a full half at Millwall.
Such is his promise that manager Nigel Pearson eschewed more experienced options 44-cap international Adam Nagy and Antoine Semenyo at the Den last week, instead turning to the latest exciting talent from the City academy as the West Country men looked to rally.
Scott becomes the eighth young player to be handed a debut this season – after Sam Pearson, Sam Bell, Ryley Towler, James Morton, Owura Edwards, Tommy Conway, Saikou Janneh and Alex Scott.
And the talent spoke to Bristol Live on Thursday to discuss making that breakthrough, his journey in football, a ‘crazy’ time in BS3 and his idols growing up, including Jack Grealish, who Scott bears a resemblance to in the way that he glides across the pitch and even plays with his socks at half-length.
Make a note of the name. ‘Great Scott’ could become a well-worn headline over the years ahead if he continues to progress and work hard to reach the top.
Here’s a transcript of our chat with the blossoming midfielder, with only Han-Noah Massengo completing more dribbles than Scott at the Den last weekend.
What have the last few weeks been like for you, Alex, making your senior debut and more? A whirlwind?
Yes, for sure. Even the past few months playing with the first team, signing my contract, playing for England… It’s been crazy for me and the rest of us youngsters.
There’s no better player than Danny [Simpson] or Mapps [Adrian Mariappa] allthese senior players. They’re helping us every single day. And then we’re getting our chances on the pitch and we just have to show what we’re about and make the gaffer put his trust in us.
What have you made of Nigel Pearson? Adam Nagy told us he is strict but also has a softer side to him too.
Yeah, that’s spot on. We need that stricter side sometimes, especially when we’re in a tough run of results like we are – that definitely helps us. And then off the pitch also he’s got that sifter side to him – he speaks to us and he’s a nice guy. It’s a great mix between the two. In the future it’ll definitely help us young and senior guys going forward.
Tell us about your journey in football as this is the first time we’ve spoken to you. You were at Southampton before…
So from 8-12-years-old I was at Southampton flying over everything weekend with my parents, which was a big sacrifice for them and myself. I then got released from there, went to Bournemouth the year after and it didn’t work out there and I just ended up playing locally in Guernsey for a bit.
When I hit 16 that’s when I started playing for Guernsey FC. And then from there they have links with Bristol City so I came over for a trial for a week, and that was successful. Then I ended up moving to Bristol a month later and since then it’s been crazy, playing U18 football, U23s and now getting a chance in the first team. It’s been a crazy experience.
We spoke to Tony Vance [manager of Guernsey FC] and he explained that it couldn’t have gone much better: you hit a ‘perfect’ hat-trick…
Yeah, I played one game and I hit a hat-trick in that in the first half. And then I trained with the first-team which was an unreal experience. I was just expecting to come in and play with the U18s so to come in and get time with the first team was mad for me. Learning off these players who were quicker and stronger on the ball. That definitely helped me.
What was it like with the Engalnd U18s recently and what do you make of Kevin Betsy?
I loved it, training all week with the best players in the country in my age group, and Kevin Betsy he’s such a great coach, you can see that even in training. On the game, I was just grateful to get my chance.
Coming from Guernsey, not many players get the opportunity to play in England and it’s hard for them to get off the island – so to go from playing in Guernsey to a year and a half and I’m playing for England it was a proud moment for me and my family.
What’s your best position? Deeper or more advanced in midfield?
I’d like to say I can play as a no.8 or no.10. Sometimes as a 4. I enjoy playing all three. Where I’m put I’ll play happily. I’d like to say maybe the no.10 as I like to dribble at players and take players on one-versus-one and play those killer passes to the strikers, so I’d definitely say the no.10.
Who were your idols growing up and which team did you support?
I’m a Tottenham fan so growing up so in the past few years Harry Kane was the main one for me. His workrate on the pitch and what he does off the pitch as well. He’s a real inspiration.
And then players I look up to now are Jack Grealish and Mason Mount. You see what Mason Mount did last night in the Champions League, it’s crazy, especially where he’s come from as a young kid, growing up playing for Chelsea since he was six-years-old and now he’s scoring in the Champions League semi-final. That’s something that I want to be doing in the future.