Youngster gives an EXCLUSIVE first interview after returning to Oakwell.
Having signed for the Reds on August 6th last summer, from Sky Bet League Two outfit Bury FC for an undisclosed fee, Callum Styles stayed with the Gigg Lane club to continue his development but has now returned to Barnsley.
We caught up with the left-footed midfielder to see how he was getting on.
“It’s good to be back here,” Styles told us, smiling. “Great to be back with the lads and training with the coaching staff. It’s been a really enjoyable couple of weeks.
“The sessions are very good that the staff put on, and you can see in the results and performances that what they’re doing with the players is working.
“It’s about attacking, it’s ruthless and all geared towards being on the front foot. I like that.”
The 18-year-old made 23 appearances for the Shakers during the first half of the campaign and felt it was the right thing to do, career-wise, to remain with Bury on-loan.
The Greater Manchester-based side have recovered well after suffering relegation during the 2017/18 season, much like the Reds in that regard, as Styles explained.
He said: “Bury have been flying to be fair. After last season’s relegation, they brought some new players into the squad and they’re a good group of lads there, really close-knit. But I’d established myself with Bury and felt it was time to take the next step.
“I want to challenge myself, and this is a big club. So it’s all about getting on the pitch now for Barnsley, that’s the ambition.”
With the Reds notorious now for fielding one of the youngest sides in the Football League and with a reputation for developing many young talents, Callum told us he’d found it an easy transition in rejoining the ranks here at Oakwell.
“I knew Jordan Williams obviously from Bury, as he played with us last season on loan. Then I’ve spent a lot of time with Matty Wolfe too.
“It’s good that there are so many young lads involved here because we’re all similar, it’s easy to fit in and to establish a rapport.
“‘Wolfie’ is a great young player, a centre mid like myself, so I’m buzzing to play with him. It’s good that he’s back fit because he’s one of those where there’s been so much good said about him. There’s some really talented young players at Barnsley.”
Whilst Callum has been involved in all first team training sessions since his return to the club, he’s not yet featured in a squad as Reds Head Coach, Daniel Stendel casts his eye on the young talent.
But he has had the opportunity to see, first-hand what the Reds are up to on match-days and admits he’s been very impressed with the way Barnsley approach games.
“The way the lads are playing is so good to watch,” Callum explained. “I was at Oakwell for the Bradford match and after the first 10 minutes or so, we were quality. There’s no worrying about the back, it’s just solid and the lads are flying forward at every opportunity. I see myself fitting into this kind of football once I get my chance.”
Having signed a four-year deal last summer, there is no immediate pressure on the youngster’s shoulders.
Styles though is determined to make an impact at the club as soon as possible.
He became the first footballer born in the 21st century to play in the Football League when he made his Bury debut in May 2016 and is now focused on getting his opportunity with the Reds.
“This is a Championship club, that’s where they belong. And the quality at that level is very good, so obviously that’s the ambition, the goal I have moving forward, to make a name for myself for Barnsley, to force my way in and show what I’m about.
“I’m a playmaker. I want to be on the ball, making play, keeping the ball moving and getting the team playing. That’s where my strengths are I suppose. But I’m only young and I’m always working hard to improve my game.
“I played a bit of Futsal when I was younger and it’s a lot less about contact, and a lot more technique based. It definitely helped me in terms of the speed of the game and having to think quickly, because football in the modern game is so fast.
“If I had to describe myself I’d say I’m the one that’s always looking to be on the ball, always involved. Hopefully in the future I can get my opportunity here at Oakwell.”