Men’s football club captain Zak Shayler believes the rapid improvement in men’s football is due to the record number of trialists and the amount of freshers involved in the top two teams.
Shayler said: “We’ve improved the standard this time round with a record number of trialists this year.
“Over 160 players trialed and the standard from the firsts to the sevenths is the highest it’s ever been.”
“The first team have six freshers and we’re looking at keeping them in that squad throughout their time in university.”
Being able to keep hold of six freshers in the first team will only benefit the squad as their experience will help the university team in the coing years.
This future planning is not often displayed by the football team, however after losing many players last year, this planning has been forced upon
them to sustain and develop a squad worthy of challenging the top teams in the country.
He added: “Although there are only three freshers in the second team, but those three players are high quality and two years ago would have made the first team, showing the increase in quality this year.”
The quality of players’ trialing was higher this year, meaning some top quality players were forced to play in the seconds or even thirds teams.
Shayler also feels that because of the amount of younger players being handed the opportunity to play higher quality football, it gives the squad
a higher reputation factor, with the main aim overtaking the men’s rugby union as the perceived team with the greatest reputation in the university.
He said: “We’ve got a better reputation around the university as a more serious club and I think we’re emerging from behind the rugby team’s shadow.
“We’re trying to surpass rugby now as the leading sport in the university.”
The first team has top spot in their sights after a fantastic start to the season, including an away win against bitter rivals Cardiff.
Shayler said: “We’re looking for promotion for most of our football teams this season, especially for our top two teams, as our seconds got relegated last season and we’re looking at getting them back up to where they belong.”