As Callum alluded to, his dad played a huge part in his development. From persuading his son to choose Bury over our South Yorkshire rivals (a very wise decision, indeed – we tip our hat to you, sir), to being an emotional rock when Callum was at his lowest, you cannot overstate the importance of that support network.
Our dynamic midfielder pays tribute to his dad, who has been with him every step of the way throughout his career.
“We’ve always been really close in terms of our relationship and he’s always helped me every step of the way,” asserted Cal. “He’s always guided me on what he’d do in that situation, what he thinks I should do because he never got the opportunities that he gave me.
“He used to play, but he said his dad never took time to take him places to take a chance with him and start his career, which my dad has done with me. He’s worked around the clock to give me opportunities to take me training, took time off work to take me to a game, so he’s had a massive influence on my career.”
We have all watched on in awe as Callum seemingly ghosts past players: his natural ability is effortless. Not only is he incredibly technically gifted, but his vision to pick a pass and link the play is what makes him stand out on the field.
Those skills were honed at a young age – not just on the pitch, but on the court as he took part in futsal sessions, a sport renowned across Europe and South America for helping aid the development of players.
Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho, Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas. Quite the quintet. Aside from enjoying unbridled success with Barcelona, they all learnt their trade on the small courts playing futsal and Callum believes it’s something that more young players should try their hand at to help improve their close control and awareness in tight spaces.
“That was also my dad,” reminisced our midfield maestro. “I was apprehensive at first about that, but my dad was adamant that it would make me better on the ball and improve my weaker foot, and that helped me a lot. So I had a good solid three or four years doing that.
“It’s all about the ball manipulation and being able to control the ball in different scenarios and tight spaces, move the ball quick. You need quick thinking because futsal is really high tempo and it’s just solely based on your ball work, but there is a lot of thinking off the ball because you pass to make movement for others, so it helps the unselfish side of the game.
“It’s massive in Europe and I think that’s why they’re so good on the ball because they teach it from a young age – they follow it through until they’re in academies, where they still play it. You can’t be good enough at ball manipulation and you can’t be good enough with the ball at your feet so, of course, it helps.”
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