Loanee Enjoying Blackpool Experience
Liam Smith says he is learning every day at Blackpool and is determined to mark his loan spell at Bloomfield Road by helping the club to survival.
The 20-year-old has made five appearances since arriving on loan from Newcastle United last month and has added a calming influence when on the pitch.
Experiencing a mix of emotions, such is the up and down nature of League One this season, Smith believes he’ll be stronger when returning to St James’ Park in the summer.
“The full loan spell has been a good experience because we’ve had such ups and downs since I’ve been here,” he explained. “We’re either really low like at Oldham or really high like at Doncaster.
“You realise it’s not all about pretty football when you leave. You’ve got to do the dirty stuff, tackling and clearing your lines, and seeing games out at times. At Newcastle we play it on the floor no matter what.
“Here this is people’s livelihoods, it matters. Relegations and promotions mean a lot, whereas in the under-21s it’s only really about performances, so I’m grateful for the experience I’m gaining.”
This represents a real turnaround for the midfielder, who has overcome a series of potentially career-affecting injuries while coming through the system at Newcastle.
Smith’s gritty determination, coupled with great loyalty from his club, saw him recover from a back problem which plagued him for two years, and he’s now playing with a new lease of life.
“I had a stress fracture in my back at a key stage of my development as a player. It was the lowest of the lows at one point and I was wondering if it was ever going to go away.
“Newcastle could have easily let me go because I’d barely played but thankfully I’ve been there since I was little, so they know what I’m like.
“I’m definitely mentally tougher from the experience. If I got injuries now I don’t think I’d struggle because I know it’s not the end of the world. Now I’m ready to get a clean run of games and hopefully help Blackpool stay up,” he added.