Carl Rushworth has only positive things to say about his time on loan at Worthing.
The Rebels were top of the Isthmian Premier League before the campaign was cut short due to the COVID-19 crisis, and despite the disappointing end to his exploits at Woodside Road he says playing regular football at a good level has taught him so much.
He said, “I was devastated because we almost won the league. At the start I was so nervous going into the first training session and match because it was the first time I was exposed to men’s football in a competitive game.
“But after some games and once I had got used to playing in front of crowd and the other boys and the manager I started to improve and become consistent. I really enjoyed it.
“I loved having the fans behind the goal, even if what they shout wasn’t always positive! It toughened me up and made me more confident.
“The physical side was really good for me. Going from under-18s football to men’s football is quite a big jump. The standard may be the same technically, but the physical difference is massive. Things like set-pieces where I have a lot of players on me helped me develop.”
Rushworth has enjoyed an equally impressive season for country as well as his club.
He made his first Three Lions appearances in England’s U19 European Championship qualifiers against Macedonia, Luxembourg and Bosnia and Herzegovina last November.
“It was a really proud moment for me and my family,” he added. “I was supposed to go to a goalkeeper camp a few months before, but I injured my finger and that was gutting. But it was a great experience to spend time working with some of the best players in the country at my age.”
The 18-year-old joined Albion from Halifax Town in January 2019 and discussed how he made the transition from living in Yorkshire.
“About a month after I moved down it did sort of hit me that I wasn’t just around the corner from my family anymore,” he said.
“But once you have a relationship with the coaches and people around you it gets easier. Things like FaceTime keep you in contact with family and friends.
“I wanted someone to speak to and have time to chill out with, so I went into digs with Peter Gwargis. We still live together now so it’s worked out well.”
Rushworth also hailed the relationship between the goalkeepers at all age groups at the club.
“The goalkeeping group is great to be a part of. You can train with any of the goalkeeping coaches and they’ll all be promoting the same things.
“It’s not a big jump through the levels because the coaching methods are the same. I have jumped up into the first team group and they welcomed me. It’s great for the development of all the young keepers at the club.”