Elisha Darrell relishing most prolific season ever in top flight
Elisha Darrell is delighted to see his hard work on the training ground pay off but is still far from content as he pursues his football ambitions.
The 23-year-old Devonshire Cougars forward has been in prolific form this season after netting fourteen goals, including a hat-trick in his team’s emphatic 6-0 drubbing of Somerset Trojans in the Premier Division in October.
“I am loving it and just happy that I am keeping the form going throughout the season,” Darrell told The Royal Gazette.
“This is the most goals I have scored in the Premier Division so far. I am just putting in the work and it is showing.”
The former high jumper turned goal poacher has tormented defenders with his tactical awareness, razor-sharp finishing and superior fitness, and he has formed a lethal partnership alongside fellow forward Domico Coddington.
“We train over and over repetitiously and sometimes we get it in games,” Darrell said of the chemistry between himself and the evergreen Coddington. “It looks easy when we play, but it’s definitely a lot of work involved.”
It is senior players such as Coddington and Cougars coach Kwame Steede who have helped Darrell take his game to the next level.
“My coach and team-mates are pushing me in training, always pointing out areas where I can improve, because I am new to the squad,” Darrell said. “I am always doing extras which also helps.”
Asked if the best is yet to come, Darrell replied: “I hope so. I am just going to keep on studying the game, put in the work and see where it takes me.”
Among the player’s short term goals is forcing his way into the national team and proving himself at that level.
“I hope to represent the country and get called up to train to see where I am among the top players,” he said.
Having put defenders on high alert with his prolific form, Darrell knows he must continue to evolve if he is to maintain that cutting edge in the all-important final third of the pitch.
“Every game is a different challenge,” he said. “I guess people see that I am doing well and want to stop it.
“But I do the same thing with defenders. If I see they had a clean sheet the game before, I am trying to score against them so it’s just competition. Everyone is trying to compete so I try to outwork and do better than the opposition.”
Darrell came close to bagging a second treble of the season in Cougars’ 3-0 win away to Robin Hood in the Premier Division at Goose Gosling Field on Sunday night.
He converted twice inside eight minutes but was denied his third after dragging a glorious opportunity wide of the post and then having a cross-shot palmed away by goalkeeper Timmy Figureido before being substituted.
“I always want a hat- trick to add to the tally,” Darrell said. “But I think coach probably made the changes to let us starters have a rest and to focus on the next game.”
Cougars next begin the defence of their Friendship Trophy title in a quarter-final clash against Dandy Town at Goose Gosling Field on Sunday in a repeat of last season’s final, which they won 3-2 and Cougars are thick in the hunt for the Premier Division title, sitting third at the midway stage of the campaign.
“It’s in our hands so anything is possible,” Darrell said.
“We never look too far ahead and are just taking it game by game. We just prepare by putting in the work and getting mentally and physically ready for the next game.”