Following his return from a productive loan spell the Czech Republic, Joe Ackroyd insists it was a beneficial experience for him as a player and a person.
Our young midfielder made 11 appearances for MFK Vyškov and enjoyed his time in a first team environment, working under Jan Trousil.
“I learnt a lot, to be honest,” began Ackroyd. “I learnt a lot about myself, learnt a different culture and improved my all-round football skills, so I think it’s been a good experience for me.
“My teammates were excellent; they’d take me to their own respective towns when we had days off and showed me around. I settled in well and made some good friends, so I was sad to leave them in the end, but all good things must come to an end.”
The 19-year-old helped Vyškov to a lower mid-table finish and contributed a goal in his third game as the South Moravian outfit secured a 2-0 victory against high-flying FK Varnsdorf.
Survival was secured well before the end of the campaign, with seven points eventually separating MFK from the bottom two.
“I think it was a strong season for Vyškov,” continued Ackroyd. “It was their first season in professional football, so the main objective was to just stay in the league, and we did it quite comfortably in the end, and played some good football.
“So, it was a successful season for Vyškov.”
Prior to his temporary stint in Europe, the tireless midfielder made his Reds debut in our Emirates FA Cup third round triumph over Barrow AFC back in Jaunary, entering the fray as a substitute in the second half of extra-time.
That brief outing gave Ackroyd the bit between his teeth, and he headed to the Czech Republic hungry to experience more senior minutes.
“It makes you stronger mentally; it brings out your character,” he asserted. “It’s an environment that I want to be involved in every day, now.
“You’re playing with big, experienced people who are going to show you the ropes and learn a lot from them so, being in that environment, I think for me now, that’s where I need to be.
“I spent quite a bit of time with the first team before I left, so I already knew what to expect. You’ve got to learn fast in those environments, and I think I did so.”
With Aiden Marsh and Matty Wolfe establishing themselves in our first team matchday squads of late, Ackroyd is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his fellow academy graduates and become a regular on the teamsheet himself.
Barnsley born and bred, his love for the club knows no bounds, and he wants to play a part in the future here at Oakwell.
“I think it goes without saying what it means to me,” stated Ackroyd. “Barnsley is my life – I’ve been here since I was 10 – so, Barnsley means everything to me and, hopefully I can make some more memories here in the future.”
Watch the interview in full on iFollow Barnsley.