Luke O'Nien answers questions from pupils at Manor Farm Junior School.
This article first appeared in the matchday programme 'Parklife' on Saturday 26th November, when the pupils took part in the Guard of Honour before the game against Hartlepool.
1. Do you have any tips on becoming a professional footballer? (From Lewis)
I’m a firm believer that hard work will get you to the top in any field. There’s an idea that 10,000 hours of dedicated practise in any area will help you become an expert at it and the more you work at it, the better you will get. Never quit and keep persevering!
2. Do you have any pre-match rituals or traditions? (From Ben)
I try not to have them, and if I see myself slipping into a routine then I change it because I don’t want to end up relying on it! Last season I wore the same pair of socks for two weeks running and I scored the winner in both games (against Bristol Rovers and Stevenage), but then I wore them again the next week and didn’t score so I stopped wearing them.
3. What was it like going out on the pitch for your first game and how did you calm your nerves? (From Meg)
I made my debut for Wycombe on the first day of last season against York, and I found out on the Friday that I would be playing. I thought about every possible scenario over and over again so I was prepared for it, whatever happened in the game, whether it was good or bad. As soon as the whistle went, it was all about hard work and it was great that it all came together and we won the game so I was able to smile and enjoy it.
4. Did you always want to be a footballer when you were growing up? (From Tommy)
I never had one thing in my mind – I just loved to play any sport I could, and to be active. I would always play in the street with my older brother and sister and their friends, and I loved to compete and get that winning feeling whenever I could. I played lots of football, day and night, and always enjoyed it, so I feel lucky that here I am today doing what I love. I don’t see football as my job – it’s just who I am and what I do, and I wouldn’t want to do anything else.
5. Who is the funniest player in the team? (From Charlie)
Garry Thompson is always a good laugh – he always gets me chuckling. Bayo is a funny guy too, and so is Sido, even if he doesn’t mean to be!
6. Who takes the longest to get changed and style their hair after a game? (From Toby and Rhys)
I think I’m a contender for that! I’m one of the last out of the changing room – usually it’s just me and the kit man left in there while he’s trying to tidy up!
7. What food do you eat before a match? (From Angelica)
If we’re eating as a team then it can vary but if I’m making it for myself then I do a lovely rice, fish and peas – usually sea bass! It’s very nice if I may say so myself.
8. What is your greatest achievement so far? (From Layla)
Ooh, that’s a tough question Layla! I think scoring goals always feels like a big achievement, especially when it’s the winner like against Yeovil, Bristol Rovers and Stevenage last season. But whenever we win, whoever scores, it’s always an achievement and we all celebrate as a team because it means all our hard work is coming together.
9. Which position would you play if you weren’t a midfielder? (From Isla)
Any! I just love being on the pitch, so put me in goal, full-back, centre-back, striker, I don’t mind.
10. Who is the strongest player? (From Ellie)
Easy – Bayo!