TOM CURLE WILL FIGHT HIS HEART OUT TO GET IN SIDE
'I WILL FIGHT MY HEART OUT TO GET IN THE SIDE'
Evening Post, 04 August 2004
Tom Curle does not expect any preferential treatment in his quest for a first-team place at Mansfield Town.
Tom Curle says he's got a little bit extra to prove, but he's not short of self-belief or determination. He speaks to Mark Roach
But the manager's son says he wouldn't want it any other way.
The 18-year-old is used to hearing people talk about his father's influence on his fledgling career - and that has made him even more determined to make the grade.
"There are a lot of people who say I'm just here because my dad is the manager," he said.
"But I've proved myself now and everyone knows I'm not here for that reason, and that I can actually play."
Curle junior believes the best way for him to get on at Mansfield is to let his feet do the talking - and he won't let any negative comments about the family connections hinder his ambitions.
"You get used to it, but I believe in myself. If you don't have any self-belief you are never going to get anywhere in life," he said.
"I'm a very determined person. This is what I've wanted to do all my life, even more so because my dad was a footballer. I'm as determined as anyone else would be."
Tom says his working relationship with his father is strictly on a player and manager basis.
"I get treated the same as everyone else. It's different, but you come to terms with it," he said.
"My dad isn't my dad when I'm here - he's just my coach, he's the manager.
"In fact I've really got to be the model professional, because if I get caught or I'm seen to be getting away with anything then other people are going to think they can do the same.
"I've just got to keep my nose down and keep doing what I'm doing."
The winger admits he does feel sometimes that he has to give a little bit extra to prove he is developing on his own merits, but adds: "I'm just trying to be a footballer, that's all I want to do."
Curle junior is learning from his father, but doesn't think he's had any special advantages, just because his dad played at the highest level in this country.
"We play in totally different positions and we're totally different players.
"I'm nothing compared to my dad. I'm not the same as him and you can't compare a player to his dad when he plays in a totally different position."
Tom accepts that comparisons will be made, but is determined to make his own decisions about which path his football career takes.
"It happens quite a lot and people will compare us, but I'm a different person. I'm not a clone of my dad and it's not as if I'm going to do everything my dad's ever done. You choose your own route."
And his ambitions are straightforward.
"I want to make it into the first team at Mansfield Town and to progress and get into the highest league as possible," he said.
"I made my debut last season and I was on the bench five or six times - and played in the pre-season friendly against Stoke for half an hour.
"My main aim is to fight my heart out to get a place in the team."
Tom believes he will need to toughen up to make an impact in League Two. "With my body size I need to be a bit bigger. It's a hard league and I need to be a lot more physical."
He has high hopes he will be involved in a successful Stags campaign this term - and he is not even considering the possibility that he won't make the grade.
"I think Mansfield will definitely go up this season, and I'm fully determined to make it as a footballer - so there is no plan B yet!"
'ALL I CAN ASK IS THAT TOM GIVES IT HIS BEST SHOT'
Evening Post, 04 August 2004
Keith Curle says his son is treated just like any other player at the club. He admits Tom Curle's specialist role as a left winger could give him an edge in the battle for places.
Keith Curle attempts to treat his son like any other player, but admits family emotions do play a part. He speaks to Mark Roach
But he says ability - not nepotism - will decide his future at Mansfield Town.
"He's an out-and-out left-winger," said the Stags boss. "I haven't adapted the team around trying to get my son in the team - he suits the way we like to play football.
"He plays in the same sort of role as Wayne Corden, but he's got different attributes to Wayne."
Curle senior admits he is not immune to family emotions on the pitch when his son is involved.
"On a personal level it's frightening, because I am always looking out for him. As a parent you do," he said.
"If he makes a mistake and people give him stick, it's the same situation as if you kick my son, I limp.
"We're very close, we talk a lot about football and he's got good ideas about football. He needs to develop this year physically and mentally, but he's a quick learner."
And Curle senior makes it clear there is no bias.
"At the moment he's the same as all the other young players that are just going into the final year of their scholarship," he said. "They're developing as young men and as footballers.
"Thomas's guidelines are exactly the same as everybody else's - can they offer me something else I can use on Saturday?
"That's where they are defining their roles as individual footballers, I don't need them to be like anybody else, I need them to be individuals.
"We try to get players to express themselves - and he needs to know his role as an individual."
Curle is aware that having Tom involved at Field Mill does present a different set of situations for his son.
"I think it's always going to be difficult. I'm mindful of the fact that Thomas is going to get compared to me because he's the manager's son. Thomas is aware of that as well," he said.
"At the moment, he's at the football club gaining his own identity - the same as the other young players are.
"They all have illusions of what they think being a trainee professional is going to be like. All we ask is that they give it the best shot they possibly can and become their own individual player."
Curle senior has two main ambitions for his son: "I want him to be happy and successful and enjoy what he's doing - the same guidelines that I used in my playing career.
"I'd like him to make the right decisions along the way and give it everything he's got.
"But, as a player, Thomas gets the same advice as all the other players do here - give it your best shot, because it's the best living you can have."
And Curle is happy with his son's progress. "The first rung of the ladder is not about getting into a football club, the first step on the rung is playing.
"Thomas was involved last year as a necessity, now it's about whether he can get in on merit. That's a question posed to all the young players here - can they get in the first team? That's what they are here for.
"And the same applies to Tom as much as anyone."
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