After signing his first professional contract during the summer, Ghanaian youngster Kwaku Donkor made his first-team debut in Tuesday’s EFL Trophy win over Barrow AFC, and was quick to thank the people that have helped him in his young career so far.
“First of all, I just want to start off by thanking God, my family and obviously the coaching staff that have supported me to get to this point,” he said the budding right-back speaking to blackpoolfc.co.uk.
“It was a great moment for me personally. It felt good to be out on the pitch, get my debut and hopefully I can push on and get many more moving forward.”
The 18-year old who came on for Jensen Weir in the 62nd minute, had a sleepless night ahead of the match.
“I found out during training on Monday that I was going to be in the squad,” he said.
“The gaffer just spoke to me to let me know that I was in the squad and that I may get a couple minutes. It was very hard to sleep that night, but it was great to get the opportunity.”
The defender explained the emotions he felt when Neil Critchley called him to come onto the pitch.
“At that moment I had a lot of nerves and excitement really,” he said.
“But as I stepped onto the pitch, I kind of just put everything around me to one side and just did what I usually do. I felt like I had some good moments out there as well as a couple of moments I could have improved on, but I’m just coming back from injury so that will start clicking and hopefully I get more minutes with the first-team again soon.”
Donkor was part of Neal Eardley’s title winning Under-18 side last term and believes his hard work during his scholarship helped him massively on his footballing journey.
“I worked really hard for this moment,” he said.
“I came in as a scholar, and my first year wasn’t the best but I had to just keep pushing really. I feel like I really kicked on in my development and I’m now reaping the rewards of that.
“I owe my coaches everything really, particularly Neal Eardley and Stephen Dobbie. They supported me, they gave me the opportunity, the platform, playing week in, week out which has allowed me to develop and impress the manager.”
Reflecting on his time on the pitch on Tuesday evening, Donkor picked out one player in particular who helped guide him through the match and made him feel muc more at ease.
“All the players were really encouraging,” he said.
“Playing next to Matthew Pennington though helped a lot, and made me more comfortable because he speaks quite a lot, which made it easier for me.
“He’s telling me where I should be sometimes, if I’m out of position, and the Head Coach is also telling me instructions, so I’m just learning as I play.
“For me, it’s all about continuing to learn and try and build from that experience now.”