Another from the Jimmy Langton series of interviews and those of you who know your Bognor Regis players, striker Dan Smith who has been linked with a move to National League outfit Eastleigh is the man in focus below:
JL: Which club have you felt at home at?
DS: I’ve definitely felt most at home with Bognor, even though I was at Portsmouth a long time it was never really in the first team frame, apart from my last year. After my first few games at Bognor last season I felt very comfortable and scoring a lot of goals definitely helped me feel this is a good place to be and this season the fans have reassured that feeling.
JL: Who’s the best manager you have played for and why?
DS: I’d probably say two so far in my career have been the best I’ve experienced. Jack (Pearce) being one of them, with the amount of knowledge he’s had over the years in football for me he does really help with little things, for example positioning up front which is still new to me and also relating what I should try and do in the game to the defender who I’m playing against. Another was Paul Cook, even though I only saw him for a short period, I thought the way he organised his team differently depending on who he plays against was very clever and you saw how it worked on game day and he knew exactly how he wanted his team to play and how to get the best out of the team that was playing.
JL: Are there any role models you look up to and why?
DS: A big one for me growing up was David Beckham, especially as I was playing as a right midfielder at the time, I liked him the most when he was with England scoring a few really big goals.
JL: What was the reason for coming to Bognor?
DS: A big reason coming to Bognor was to play under Jack and Robbie (Blake) week in, week out, which I knew I would do here, as I’d done so well last season. I was hoping I’d replicate that and score as many goals as I had, or more, which I have done.
JL: Did you have any trials at higher league clubs?
DS: I had quite a few offered to me fromFootball League clubs and National League clubs, but decided I wanted to play 90 minutes every week with Bognor this season.
JL: What’s your favourite football club? (Apart from Bognor, obviously!)
DS: I don’t really support a team, my family are mainly Southampton fans, but I grew up playing with Portsmouth so I was quite neutral! But at the moment I really enjoy watching Liverpool play.
JL: Which coach do you feel you have benefited from most so far?
DS: I’d say Blakey has helped me a lot in terms of what is required from a centre forward at first team level and explains when to try things and when to “do my job as a striker” and keep it simple. Another coach who’s helped me massively recently and at the start of my career when I was 7 or 8 is a coach called Dave Hazelgrove, who’s helping me now as well in terms of playing men’s football at non-league and the little tricks you need to know to get an advantage over the defender.
JL: What’s your favourite colour?
JL: Who is the best player you have played against?
DS: I can’t think of any from games that stick out for a specific player, but I did play against Sean Coleman on his comeback game after the leg break, but the one that sticks out in training was always Matt Clarke, he’s strong, quick, fit, intelligent and very good on the ball, you always wanted him on your team in training!
JL: Do you intend to go into coaching when you have retired from playing?
DS; I’m not too sure after I finish playing I want to continue coaching, I do a bit at the moment and enjoy it, but I’m not sure if it’s something I want to do long term. I might end up doing a job not related at all to football.
JL: Why did you choose football?
DS: I always loved it from a young age and wanted to excel when I was playing and try and perfect whatever I was working on.
JL: Who’s the best player you have played with and why?
DS: The best player I’ve played with is probably Conor Chaplin, who I played a lot with at under 23 level when he was out of favour, his finishing is unbelievable and in terms of his little touches you can’t get much better around the box and playing with him was a great experience.
JL: What was the reason why you came back to Bognor?
DS: It was definitely the opportunity of playing every game and getting the chance to perform which I feel I have. I still feel I can play better than I have done, but I’m young and still learning and playing games here is definitely the best way of doing it at the moment.
JL: How did you become a centre forward?
DS: The reason I became a centre forward came from Kenny Jacket, he saw me as a striker as I was very good in the air, could finish well and run in behind the defenders repeatedly and that’s where he wanted me to play in his ideal team.
Follow Jimmy on Twitter, @JimmyLangton2