DERRY teenager, Aaron McEneff (19) claims he’s ready to make the most of a ‘chance of a lifetime’ after being offered his first professional contract at English Premiership club, Tottenham Hotspur.
The former Institute Football Club midfielder, who signed a two year scholarship deal with the London club in August 2012 has graduated swiftly through the underage ranks and has finally got his chance at the big time at White Hart Lane.
McEneff, originally from Cornshell Fields in the city, was delighted to be approached by the powers that be at the North London club last Thursday, and he hopes to put the finishing touches to a one year deal within the next couple of weeks.
A former St Columb’s College student, McEneff insists he’s developed significantly since first experiencing the bright lights of London two years ago and he’s ready for the big step up in class.
“They approached me last Thursday to tell me they were going to offer me a professional contract so, as you can imagine, I was buzzing,” said McEneff.
“I haven’t signed anything just yet, we’re still at the negotiating stage but hopefully we can get it sorted within the next two weeks.
“I’ve been over at Spurs for two years now. This is the end of my second year so I would’ve been out of contract but thankfully they’ve offered me another year.
“It’s a massive step in my career. Maybe they might think I’d benefit from going out on loan but we’ll see.”
When the N. Ireland U19 international first arrived at Spurs, he was coached by Tim Sherwood who was the club’s technical co-ordinator - now the first team coach. And he’s hoping the Spurs boss will give him his chance to impress next season.
“Tim Sherwood was my coach this year until he got the first team job,” he explained. “I think he’s a quality manager and hopefully he can stay in the job because, as you can see, he gives the young boys a chance and hopefully he can get me a chance.
“No matter if he stays or not I just have to keep working hard and try to impress.”
McEneff explained that he found it difficult to adapt to life in the English capital at first, but he soon settled in and enjoyed training with the stars of the Spurs first team who are vying for a Champions League spot this season.
“It was hard to adapt when I first came over here but you slowly get used to it. The home sickness starts to leave you and become settled and come into your own.
“At the start you’re looking around and you get a bit star struck. Then you’re training with these guys every day and you just get used to it,
“You learn to grow up quickly and become a man. You become more independent. Physically you develop and within the two years I’ve changed massively.
But I think to develop mentally is the key when you’re over here. When a young boy from Derry comes over to London and gets everything thrown at him it’s difficult to keep yourself grounded.”
And should Spurs secure their place in Europe next season, McEneff is hoping he can get his first taste of European football having qualified as a ‘home grown player’.
“You have to be at the club two years to be classed as a home grown player so my two years are up this year so I’ll be available to be on the bench or play next year in Europe in the Champions League or whatever it is.”