Teenager Lewis Freestone could be one of the first names on Peterborough United manager Grant McCann’s teamsheet next season, but he’s not taking anything for granted.
The 17 year-old finished last season as first-choice left-sided defender and with Jerome Binnom-Williams on the transfer list and Andrew Hughes pencilled in for a centre-back role, he could get the nod when the new League One campaign starts on August 5.
Freestone, who signed a three-year professional contract in the summer, described the last 12 months as a rollercoaster, but he’s adamant the experience will stand him in good stead.
He spent time on loan last season at non-league clubs St Albans and Cambridge City.
“It was a real roller coaster for me last season,” Freestone said. “I played under 18 football, under 21 football, non-league football and League One football.
“They are all very different, but the experience can only do me good.
“Non-league football was a real eye-opener. It was old school football with lots of long-balls and headers, but I enjoyed it.
“It made me tougher for a start as you have to meet the physical challenge to be able to play.
“It definitely helped me when I was picked for the Posh first-team.
“When I was selected the manager just told me to play my normal game and to not try anything different.
“He couldn’t have been more supportive and nor could my team-mates and the fans.
“Young players don’t naturally take a lot of confidence into their first appearances, but my experienced team-mates helped me settle and I think I did okay.
“I’d played pre-season for the first team and I’d trained a lot with them so I was well prepared, but obviously the football was a lot tougher.
“In the last game of the season at Bolton they had a huge crowd cheering them on and I had to mark a winger who kept trying to get past me and cross the ball. My job is to stop that and I felt I did okay.
“There’s a big summer ahead for me now.
“I’m going to have a break, but I’ll be in the gym ready to work hard before we report back for pre-season training.
“I want to still be flying when pre-season training comes around.”
The Posh first-team squad are due to report back to the ABAX Stadium on July 1. They will then depart for a week-long training camp in Spain,
The first friendly is scheduled for St Albans on July 11. Championship clubs Wolves and Ipswich were added to the pre-season schedule this week.
Pre-season friendlies: July 11 St Albans (away), July 15 QPR (home), July 18 Ipswich (home), July 22 Deeping Rangers (away), July 25 Wolves (h), July 29 Stamford AFC (away).
The League One season starts on August 5.