Astwood aims to make most of Reading chance
Arnezha Astwood has vowed to make the most of the opportunity to broaden his football horizons at an old stamping ground of Bermuda legend Shaun Goater.
The Robin Hood striker has been awarded a $4,100 grant from the Ministry of Social Development and Sport to further his development at the Reading Academy in England.
Goater scored 12 goals in 43 appearances between 2003 and 2005 at Reading, where he played under managers Alan Pardew and Steve Coppell.
“I’m very excited to go to Reading because I was supposed to go there a long time ago but didn’t,” said the 16-year-old.
“Now that I get the chance to go again I’m going to make the most of it. I know the expectations of myself will be high because of what Shaun achieved there.
“But you can’t let that go to your head because it messes up how you play. I just have to go there and play my own game and not Shaun Goater’s game. The main thing for me is to improve my game.”
The Berkeley Institute pupil knows what to expect during his time at Sky Bet Championship side Reading, having been involved in a similar venture at Millwall last year.
“I didn’t know what I needed to work on before I went to Millwall, so it was unfortunate to go there not knowing and then finding out,” Astwood said.
“But now I know what I have to work on, which makes it easier for me when I go out there again.”
Astwood was among the 14 promising student athletes that were awarded a combined $50,000 from the ministry as part of the National Junior Athlete Sponsorship Programme.
“We are absolutely grateful for the support from the Government for this initiative and hopefully it serves an incentive for a young gentleman who has actually had a fabulous year of football,” said Shannon Burgess, the Bermuda Football Association first vice-president, who attended last week’s sponsorship awards luncheon at Hamilton Princess and Beach Club.
Astwood took the Premier Division by storm when he came off the bench to score two late goals in his first appearance for Hood against Flanagan’s Onions at Goose Gosling Field in February.
“He made his debut and scored two goals against a quality team, which shows he has the right tools to perhaps go all the way,” Burgess added. “Hopefully the opportunity that he will be presented as a result of this donation will help assist him to go a long way.”
Astwood earned an FA Cup winner’s medal with Hood after their 1-0 win over Southampton Rangers in a replay at the National Stadium, where he came on as a second-half substitute.
“I was nervous in the FA Cup final and didn’t want to come on but you have to do what you have to do,” Astwood admitted.
“It was such a big game and I was nervous because you don’t want to get on the field and make a mistake. All of that goes through your head and I’m still young.
“I remember when I was younger watching other teams win the FA Cup. It was very exciting.
“I’m proud of myself from where I started to where I am today. It’s a big move and I never dreamt my season would turn out the way it did.”
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