It has been a new experience for Tom over the last week or so as he joined up with the Welsh national squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Austria. He described the pride he felt in representing his country and how it can also benefit the Reds in terms of developing his game, whilst experiencing new things.
He told the assembled media, “I think it’s all great experience for a player. Obviously it was my first time going away for actual qualifying matches. I’d been involved in friendlies before but this was a slightly different atmosphere. Everything is taken that little bit more seriously. Whether that be meetings, training sessions like your set-pieces and whatever, everything was much more thorough.
“It was a tremendous experience for myself, I felt proud to be out there and it can only serve to be good for my career. It’s also good for Barnsley I think because working with other coaching staff you can pick up extra little things and improve other areas of your game. Of course to be training and mixing with the likes of Gareth Bale is an eye-opener and it just makes me hungrier for more.”
His latest time spent on the international scene is further proof he says that he was correct in making the move to Oakwell in the summer from Walsall. The 24-year-old forward explained that he feels justified in leaving the League One club for Championship football.
“I made it clear in the summer that if I was going to throw my hat in the ring more often in terms of Wales I needed ideally to be playing at the highest level possible. I think my stance has been proven right so far. Not only that, but playing in the Championship week in, week out with Barnsley can only help my game and I’m really enjoying my time here so far.”
The step up in quality that Tom and his teammates are adapting to is very noticeable too he says, with mistakes punished more often and chances taken more clinically a division higher up.
“Minor errors that probably might not have been punished in League One are more often than not taken every time at this level. It just shows how cut-throat and ruthless the Championship is really. I think our recent performances have still been good but the small mistakes that have been happening in one or two games have been punished.
“So for me it’s as simple as continuing to perform as we have been all season so far, but cutting out the little errors that have cost us recently, then I’m sure we’ll be getting back to winning ways.”
Paul Heckingbottom has a handful of options in forward positions and each striker has scored goals in the first two months of the season. Like any good footballer, Tom sees the strength in depth and options available to the Head Coach as a major plus point, and is happy to be partnered up top by any of them.
He said, “This is exactly what the Gaffer said he wanted in the summer. He wanted us to be competitive in all areas and that’s exactly what he’s got. We’ve a talented young group here, a great squad of players and the strikers particularly, we’re all proven scorers. We’ve all scored two goals I think! So it’s difficult to split us.
“It’s a good problem for the Gaffer to have, everyone scoring or creating goals, working hard for the team, doing their best to stay or get into the team. I have no preference in terms of strike partners. So long as I’m in the starting team that’s the only preference I have!”
Talk turned to the weekend’s game against Fulham coming up at Oakwell, and Bradshaw reckons that anyone can beat anyone in this division and that the Reds are well-prepared for the visit of the Cottagers.
“There’s no game that’s easy in the Championship. There is no banker three points these days. Anyone can beat anyone. The bottom of the league can beat the top of the league, we’ve seen it before many times.
“But it’s a big learning curve for most of us. I’m sure others outside the Club look at us as underdogs most weeks. But we’re confident of getting back to winning ways. Hopefully that starts on Saturday.”
You can see the full interview with Tom Bradshaw over on Barnsley Player HD.
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