Hull v Chelsea: Tom Cairney aims to dampen pacesetters' spirit
The 19 year-old will have a point to prove when he pits his wits against Frank Lampard at the KC Stadium on Tuesday night because he will want to demonstrate it was wrong for him to be discarded when he was a schoolboy at Leeds because he was too small. 'I was with Leeds from the age of seven until I was 16, and then they released me for being too small,' Cairney said. Sunderland can put dent in Manchester Uniteds title hopes, says Craig Gordon'I came here straight after that and the two years that I was in the youth team I shot up, I was a late developer. 'I'm just glad Hull was here as a safety net and it's to be at in the Premier League. I was small at the time playing in centre midfield. The average height of the team must have been 6ft and I was 5ft 1in. 'At that age, it was all about being an athlete, but when everyone catches up it goes on ability and football. I just needed that time to grow, and that knock-back has given me a fire in the belly. 'I just want to keep on playing and prove them wrong. The gaffer has got a lot of confidence in me so it's hopefully onwards and upwards from now on. 'All of my heroes growing up were the guys that are still playing now. The likes of Gerrard, Scholes, Giggs, all of those. To get a chance to play against those people would be just surreal. That's what I want to do. 'Frank Lampard is in that bracket. I've been watching him since I was at school, watching him score goals all the time. It's crazy but that's what you dream of really.' Nottingham-born Cairney scored on his Hull debut in the Carling Cup earlier this season and then marked his Premier League bow with an accomplished performance in last weekend's 2-2 draw with Wolves. However, he should have made his top-flight debut last month against Chelsea until the game was postponed until today due to Arctic weather conditions that gripped the KC Stadium. 'Last time when I was meant to be starting against Chelsea, it got called off for snow and I was gutted,' the Scottish youth international said. 'The lads were making fun of me again but I was just glad to play against Wolves and get a Premier League game under my belt. 'We were in the hotel on the Friday night last time and at about 7.30 the gaffer told us that the police had called it off. He'd told me that morning that I was going to play so I thought I was going to be making my debut against Chelsea at 18. 'Never mind though - better late than never. Every young lad wants to play against international stars and obviously it'll be a tough game but it would be something I'd love to be a part of.' Cairney is appreciative of manager Phil Brown's support following his heart-breaking experiences at Leeds. 'It feels great for the manager to have so much confidence in me,' Cairney added. 'It's one of the biggest games of the season for us, and I hope I can pay him back with performances and secure a place in the team. 'I was nervous before the Wolves game, but once I heard the crowd roar and we kicked off, that all went. George Boateng was talking to me all the time as well, bless him. 'He was just shouting 'left, right' and I was wondering what to do. Seriously, though, he's an experienced pro and those are the types of players you want to learn off, they guide me every day in training. It's great to be around them.'
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