Reds midfielder Matty James spoke to the media ahead of the Derby match this weekend.
The central midfielder has been an ever present in Paul Heckingbottom’s side since his January loan move from Premier League Champions Leicester City, playing an integral part of the recent success.
James was asked about his time at Oakwell so far and how his mindset was following an injury lay-off during his time at Leicester.
He said, “The last few weeks have been amazing for me. To be playing regularly and playing lots of 90 minute games is a big thing for me because I haven’t played properly in around 20 months. For me to have this feeling of being back playing regular football is a really good feeling for me.
“I needed this because I was starting to doubt myself and wondering what I was doing wrong. I don’t think I actually was but the opportunity just wasn’t arising and I was desperate to play football. Then when the chance came to join Barnsley I took it with both hands, I just wanted to play. I knew there was a good group of lads and the manager was great when I spoke to him, he was enthusiastic and really positive towards myself, it made me feel wanted and like I could do something for Barnsley as well.”
Following his involvement in regular Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday matches, James feels that he has dealt with the rigours of regular first team football again and his body has coped well.
“I don’t think I had doubts about the injury because I had been training regularly for a good seven to eight months and I had played some U23s games. I know what the Championship is like and how tough it can be, it was just kind of how I go about playing at that level again. There were nerves before the game kicked off but as soon as it kicked off it felt like it had only been a week since I did the injury. It felt normal, it felt right and it’s been really enjoyable so far. For me now it’s all about playing as many games as I can here and doing as well as I can for Barnsley.
“Barnsley have showed such a belief in me and I would never burn any bridges in that sense. I can only be thankful to this Football Club for the belief they showed which was really touching to me and if I can do as much as I can whilst I am here I am happy, then we’ll assess in the summer.”
Matty’s parent club Leicester City recently had a well-documented change of manager. Although on-loan with the Reds until the end of the season, James has kept up-to-date with the on-goings in the East Midlands and keeps in touch with his colleagues there.
“It has been a crazy story for everyone in football. I think some the criticism the players there have come under is a bit harsh, they weren’t the ones who made the decision. People looking on now seem to want Leicester to do the opposite of what they did last year. They all just need to focus on what they need to do and get the points on the board to try and become the team that they were last year.”
This weekend the Reds take on Derby County at Pride Park. Barnsley ran out 2-0 winners during the previous meeting earlier in the season at Oakwell. As we’re now approaching the season end both teams still have play-off aspirations and James was asked whether the Reds could make it.
“I don’t think we can rule it out.” He stated. “My first season with Leicester we got in to the play-offs with the lowest point tally. We couldn’t buy a win at one point but then you put a couple of wins together and a couple of the teams in the top eight lose, then all of a sudden you climb. You can never rule anything out in this league as three or four wins puts you right up there, three of four losses puts you at the bottom! We’ll just go to Derby to try play our football, do what we do best and see what happens.”
Matty James' full press conference can be viewed on Barnsley Player HD. The midfielder discusses plenty of topics at length about himself and the Club!