Jake Gosling is living the dream and, if the young Exeter City winger can help it, he has no desire to wake from it any time soon.
The gifted 18-year-old has been one of the shining lights of the Grecians’ pre-season so far and scored a stunning goal to open the scoring in the 4-0 win at Dorchester Town earlier this month.
Gosling followed up that with another fine performance in the 3-1 win over FC United of Manchester last Saturday, when he came close to scoring with a low shot that came off the inside of an upright.
However, the sponsors felt he did enough in the opening 45 minutes to earn the man of the match award but, rather than revel in his new-found fame, the young Cornishman is quietly going about his business in unassuming manner.
“I’m doing all right and just ticking by,” Gosling said. “I’m not going to get ahead of myself, obviously, because we have a massive squad. We’re all in competition for places, but I’m feeling sharp and I’m ready for the new season.
“I’m enjoying it and it’s great that the manager [Paul Tisdale] has such faith in me. I hope he has faith in me, anyway, you can’t really tell from pre-season friendlies what he is going to do for the season and stuff like that. He will have a basic idea, but I’m just trying to earn my place and that’s all I can do.
“I trained with the first team a bit last season, which gave me a head start, but it has been good and I’m really enjoying it. The boys have been brilliant, I’m looking forward to it and I’m just enjoying my time here at the moment.”
Gosling, who was released by Plymouth Argyle as a
16-year-old, is one of six players from last season’s under-18 squad at Exeter to have been offered his first professional contract. Tisdale has stressed the importance to the first year professionals of taking any chance that comes their way, as this may be the only chance they get in the first team, and it is something Gosling is keen to do.
“The manager said that this might be the only time we get to play for the first team, so I really want to try and take my chance,” Gosling added. “The sessions we had over the summer have really helped to give us a head start. Now I want to get in the first team and do my stuff, that’s all.
“It helps that so many of us came through together, I’m good friends with them and have known them for two years and it’s good that they are doing well as well. It’s good to have support from them and it’s good because it means I’m not the only young lad here. It’s good for them and me.
“We had some sessions put on for us over the summer and it was good because they want a lot of the young lads to be as fit as possible. We did a lot of running! We did some ball sessions as well to get our sharpness back which has been essential because I wanted to come back to pre-season sharp and try and earn my place. These sessions have been really good for us.”
Whether Gosling continues to play such a prominent role in pre-season remains to be seen as Tisdale gears towards team shape and a more settled side ahead of the League Two season starting at home to Morecambe on August 18.
“My aim is just to try and get in the team, or get there or thereabouts,” Gosling said. “I just try and do the best I can, I want to do well for myself and for Exeter City Football Club, especially. It would be nice to get a few games under my belt.”