AARON McEneff spent quality time in the Spanish sunshine as he ‘re-charged the batteries’ during the mid-season break and claims he’s returned feeling ‘hungry’ for success as he prepares for an ‘exciting time’ with his hometown club.
The classy midfielder has been one of Derry City’s stand-out performers during the first half of the season, leading the scoring charts with six goals and chipping in with four assists.
Three goals in the month of May, including a brace against Shamrock Rovers in a 3-1 win at Maginn Park, earned the ex-Tottenham Hotspur man a nomination for the Airtricity Premier Division ‘player of the month’ alongside teammate, Aaron Barry.
And yet McEneff isn’t overly concerned about personal accolades and is refusing to rest on his laurels as he looks ahead to tonight’s trip to Bray Wanderers which kickstarts a mouthwatering series of fixtures in both the league and in Europe.
“I’ve added goals to my game this year and that’s something I want to keep working on. I want to get into double figures this year and I have another half of a season to achieve that. I want to keep going and help my teammates whatever way I can.”
The week-long break in action has allowed McEneff time to reflect on a rollercoaster start to the 2017 campaign which began with so much promise before the devastating loss of the club’s much loved skipper, Ryan McBride. He’s also had to cope with the sudden loss of his Godfather and uncle, John ‘Jap’ Sweeney and ex-Spurs coach, Ugo Ehiogu, so it’s been a tough ride for the 21 year-old off the pitch.
I just got away from Derry for a few days and it was good to be away and get a bit of sun and switch off from football. But whenever you’re away from it, you always come back hungrier and willing to work hard again.Aaron McEneff
On it he’s been exceptional and feels he’s got plenty more to offer as City look to battle on three fronts when the campaign resumes tonight at the Carlisle Grounds.
“We’ve dealt with a lot more than football setbacks and have shown there’s good character in this side,” said McEneff. “I can only see us kicking on for this second part of the season.
“A lot happened both on and off the pitch during the first half of the season. It wasn’t an easy period for anyone involved.” And a few days in the Spanish island of Ibiza with his girlfriend, Ellen helped him take a much needed break from football matters.
“I just got away from Derry for a few days and it was good to be away and get a bit of sun and switch off from football. But whenever you’re away from it, you always come back hungrier and willing to work hard again.
“It’s really exciting times for the club. It’s all young local boys as well and so you’re basically out there playing with your mates.
“It was a short break but it gave the boys the option to go away and get a bit of sun or spend time with their families. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the break and everyone came in fresh on Saturday. It’s been a good week of training.
“Everyone’s been buzzing and looking forward to the next game. I think the break has done us a good turn. Everyone seems re-energised and raring to go.”
He’s midway through his third season with his hometown club, his second under the management of Kenny Shiels, and he feels he’s continuing to improve his game.
“I just need to keep doing that and add a lot more to my game. I still have a lot to add to my game. This season has been good so far but it’s only half the season. You have to do it for a full season.”