Fynn Talley admitted to some pre-match nerves prior to his first appearance for Cliftonville but was pleased that a big save in the opening minutes of yesterday’s friendly with Shamrock Rovers helped him settle into the action.
The match was barely two minutes old when Aidomo Emakhu worked some space for himself and let off a fierce low drive that looked bound for the bottom corner until Talley stretched out a leg to avert the danger – an intervention that set the tone for a confident first outing at Solitude.
“I enjoyed it, it was a good game and I was pleased to be involved,” said the Brighton and Hove Albion loanee.
“I’ve enjoyed my first week here, everyone’s been really welcoming and training has been good. I was looking forward to making my first appearance for the Club but there were some nerves there because it was my first time playing in front of the fans but it went well and that save early on was important for me.”
Talley, who has spent previous loan spells at Burgess Hill and Gosport Borough, is looking forward to learning more and more about Irish League football and can’t wait to sample his first taste of European action when the Reds take on DAC in the first qualifying round of the Europa Conference League next month.
“Some of the lads at Brighton are from Northern Ireland and have played at Clubs over here,” added the Londoner, who represented England at Under-16 level.
“I knew little bits and pieces about the League and certain Clubs through them but obviously I’m finding out much more now that I’m a part of it. When I was told about the interest from Cliftonville, it was something I was keen to look into and the fact that there’s European football coming up is another big draw. It wasn’t the only thing that attracted me here – I’m happy to have the chance to be part of a Club like this – but it was a nice little extra to look forward to.”
While any transfer involves a degree of acclimatisation, former Arsenal man Talley has had to combine getting to know new team-mates and a new city as well as adjusting to the local accent – and admits that Goalkeeping Coach Conleth McCrudden’s strong Derry tones have proved something of a challenge in his first week.
“I think I can understand what he’s saying now,” laughed the 19-year-old.
“It was tough at first and he’s maybe had to say things to me two or three times but I’m getting better at understanding so I don’t think there’ll be a problem there. The more I work with him, the better it’ll get for me.
“I’m loving my time in Belfast, I’d never been here before. It’s a great city and I’m looking forward to seeing more of it and just learning more about the Club and the League in general.
“I’m staying pretty close to the stadium but I still need my Sat-Nav to get there and back. It’s not that long of a journey but I’ve not been brave enough to risk it on my own yet just in case.”