Interview Toby Lees

TOBY LEES

Personal Details

Club:
Alfreton Town FC
Full Name:
Toby Lees
Nationality:
English
Date of Birth:
25-12-1996
Place of birth:
Harrogate
Position:
Centre Back
Shirt number:

Career

Youth – 2020
Harrogate Town FC
2016 (on loan)
Harrogate Railway FC
2018 (on loan)
Boston United FC
2018 (on loan)
Whitby Town FC
2019-2020 (on loan)
Gateshead FC
2020
Gateshead FC
2020-
Alfreton Town FC

Interview

Toby, introduce yourself…

I am Toby Lees, 23, and I am a Centre Back who plays in the National League North for Alfreton Town.

How important is football for you?

Growing up in a footballing family background I have always been around football and it is something which has been ever present in my life, from being a supporter as well as actually playing.

Who was the player, or players, you looked up to most growing up, and why?

Being a defender, I always watched the likes of John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, who were very good footballers technically but most importantly were very traditional defenders in terms of making sure they did their job first-defend.
My brother (Tom) was also someone I looked up to a lot naturally, growing up. From going to watch his matches and training sessions when i was child, to growing up and being able to train with him. Being able to share his experiences, watch him develop into the player he has, understand and see how and what he has managed to achieve to date, makes you want to do the same.

How do you prepare for an (important) competition? (music, rituals, etc.)

I tend to just stick to the basics, plenty of water and sleep the night before a game. Then in terms of the on the day of a game I will make sure I eat well in advance of a game, trying to stick to similar pre-match meals.

What are your biggest strengths and what are your biggest weaknesses?

My strengths are my work ethic as I like to ensure I give myself the best opportunity so that if failures do occur, there are no regrets and it isn’t down to lack of effort. Another strength is that I like to think for my age, I am quite experienced and mature in footballing knowledge having grown up in an football environment and I believe that aids me with my football in terms of performances, training and understanding of the game.

You came from the youth of Harrogate Town FC. Did you noticed a lot of difference between the youth and the first team ?

Yes, having Paul Thirwell as the U19/U21s coach whilst he was still playing for Harrogate helped a lot as it made the transition easier, with him implementing and sharing first team characteristics into a youth team setup.
With youth team football the main focus is development really. Whereas when you transition to first team football, its different. The game is more realistic, you may have to play a certain way which might not be the norm in order to win, adapt your game personally, its more physical, certain expectations and standards are set, results for a match have greater importance.

By Harrogate Town FC, you was loaned out to Harrogate Railway FC, Boston United FC, Whitby Town FC and Gateshead FC . How did you experience these periods?

All my loan experiences have helped me in some aspect develop to the player I am now. Harrogate Railway was a chance for me to get my first experience of men’s football at a young age which stood me in good stead in terms of the physical demands it offered. Whitby Town allowed me to play games week in, week out-whilst being able to train full time with Harrogate which was important. It was another step up from the level I had played regularly before. Boston United was a great insight into getting more regular football in the National League North having experienced snippets with Harrogate. Finally, I went to Gateshead with the sole aim of really trying to prove a point-personally with the aim of playing as many games as possible and showing what I could do at that level in the National League North, but as a collective aiming for promotion with the club and returning to the National League.

Toby, you have played at several football clubs. At which club did you learned the most?

Every club I have been too has improved me as a player and I have learned and taken aspects to improve my game in different ways.
I learned a lot from being at Leeds United for many years and also at Gateshead being full time, playing a lot of football and learning under Mike Williamson, however having spent the bulk of my footballing career at Harrogate Town I would probably learnt the most there. Playing in both the National League & National League North, being full-time and training alongside the players of which many are still there and now are in League 2, under the management of Simon Weaver and Paul Thirwell saw me develop and improve greatly.

And Toby, what are your personal goals for the rest of this season?

My personal aims for the season are to play as many games as possible for Alfreton Town, showcase myself at this level and looks to see whether that can take me.



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