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Cherries feature: Young Jayden's journey
Published : 23 Mar 2011 07:00:00
FROM Kent to Cumbria via leafy Oxfordshire, Jayden Stockley has come a long way since the turn of the year. Having earned a recall for Cherries' jaunt up country to Carlisle on Saturday, Stockley made a brief, if eye-catching, substitute appearance during the 1-0 defeat at Brunton Park. It was his first taste of action since August when a full debut in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy against Torquay came after he had stepped off the bench during wins over Peterborough and Tranmere. Troubled by more than his fair share of injuries since, the 17-year-old striker was loaned to Dorchester Town by former boss Eddie Howe in January to get some valuable game-time under his belt. He made an instant impact and netted twice on his debut, even if his brace proved in vain as the Magpies were condemned to a 3-2 defeat by Conference South rivals Ebbsfleet United in Kent. Stockley returned to Dean Court in February and made his first appearance under new boss Lee Bradbury when he came off the bench during Cherries' 0-0 draw with Sheffield Wednesday. And just a fortnight before jetting off to Carlisle with Bradbury's squad, Stockley bagged the only goal of the game in Cherries' Youth Alliance victory at Oxford United. I just do as I'm told, said the Broadstone-based teenager who shot to prominence last season when he was drafted into the first-team squad at just 15. I work as hard as possible during the week and give my all on a Saturday, whoever I am playing for. It was good being on loan at Dorchester and getting some games. But the best and most important place to be is here. It is great experience for me to be among the lads and it was great to get on against Carlisle. My ambition is to be with the first team every week but I'm not disappointed if I'm in the under-18s. I'm just enjoying every minute of it and this is a great place to be. I wouldn't trade this job with anything in the world. It's unbelievable. Rewarded by Howe last season with a five-year contract a two-year apprenticeship followed by a three-year professional deal Stockley is hoping to add to his game under the tutelage of strikers Bradbury and Steve Fletcher. Sometimes, I lose sight of the fact I'm still only 17, said Stock-ley, who left Lytchett Minster School in the summer. Being in and around the first team makes you want it more. As long as the manager keeps me in training, I have to be seen to be pushing for a starting place. Bradders has been excellent with me and I feel I'm progressing. I used to watch him as a player and have tried to take things I saw into my own game to benefit me. Fletch is a similar type of player to me and it is great to look at his movement and learn from him. Since bursting on to the scene last season and having the media spotlight thrust upon him, Stockley has slipped into the background, his progress checked by nagging groin and hamstring injuries. I didn't look after them too well, admitted Stockley. I had a few injuries and didn't keep them under control. I have become more professional and watching great pros like Ryan Garry and Jason Pearce has taught me to keep on top of them. Hopefully, I can have a long career in the game. It is not always good being in the spotlight and sometimes your head can go. I tried to stay level-headed and to keep my feet on the ground. Now, I've got to prove to everyone that I can do it on the pitch.