After a couple of encouraging cameo appearances during pre-season Brighton & Hove Albion under-21 striker Shamir Fenelon says he is reaping the benefits of a loan spell in League Two with Torquay United last season.
The 19-year-old hit his first Football League goal while on loan at the Gulls and is now looking to make further progress in the 2014/15 campaign.
He told seagulls.co.uk, “Going out on loan helped me a lot. Being in a more competitive environment of men’s football helps you grow up and you have to concentrate every day, in the games and in training.
“I came back a few weeks before the end of the season but it was a good experience, the manager, the staff and players were good to me. It was good to be away from home and I grew up a little bit.
“It's helped me progress and I am better prepared for this pre-season. I will take it game-by-game and do my best here and give myself the best opportunity, and see what happens at the start of the season.”
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Fenelon has come off the bench to hit three goals during pre-season, a brace against Lewes and a header in Saturday's win over Partick, but he says his primary focus is on performance and the necessary hard work, rather than scoring goals during pre-season.
“It has been good to get some goals but there have been other times where I haven’t scored at all in pre-season and scored in the season. At the moment it is all about performance and fitness rather than the goals but it is nice to find the net.
“It is good to be with the first-team, a bit different because of the step up in quality but it is good to be around the older players who help throughout the season with the experience they pass on to the young boys.
“The more games we play and sessions we do, everyone is getting a bit more comfortable. The staff and the older players have been good to us and make us feel part of the group.
“This is a good opportunity for me to learn and develop with the first team here in Spain on pre-season.I hoped I would get to this point. That was my first aim and if I do everything properly through pre-season and into the season then I might get my chance.”
Meanwhile Fenelon also highlighted Simon Ireland’s influence since the under-21 coach started last summer.
“Simon has helped quite a bit he gets you working hard and focused on what you have to do and there is a good tempo in training which makes it not so hard when you step up to the first team.”