Earlier on in the season, we spoke to PASE Academy graduate Sorba Thomas about his time with the academy and his breakthrough into the first team. For more information on the academy, or to apply for a trial, click HERE. It couldn’t be simpler!
Boreham Wood PASE Academy graduate Sorba Thomas is eyeing a more permanent first team berth, following his first full pre-season with the Boreham Wood first team.
The versatile young winger was the surprise package of pre-season and he impressed with performances against both Slough Town and Crystal Palace.
Filling in at both wing-back and upfront, Thomas asserted that he is ready to step up and play wherever he is needed.
“During pre-season everyone has to play, but obviously it was great to get the full 90 against Slough Town,” Thomas elated. “Then to feature against a big team like Crystal Palace and to come up against big players like Connor Wickham and Jason Puncheon, it was a nice experience.
“When you see them on tv, you just watch and admire them and then when you see them on the pitch, it is like it is in 3D haha, because those players on TV are right there in front of you.
“It was hard to keep up with them at times to be fair. They know when to run, when not to run and their game management is excellent, which is all stuff that I need to learn and develop, but it will come in time.”
The academy graduate particularly impressed in the right-wing back berth against Slough Town.
Despite receiving praise from the Wood Army support, Thomas said that the experience showed him just how much he still has to learn.
When asked about the praise he received from supporters, Thomas said: “No, there were other good performances during the game. That was my first match playing in wing back really and I enjoyed it, but it showed me that I need to work more on the defensive side of my game.
“The gaffer gave me a chance there and I think that I showed him what I can do, so hopefully I can feature in that position in the league.”
“When you are coming on in matches and you can hear the supporters saying your name, it is different, because when you are playing in the under 19s, you aren’t playing in a ground full of supporters.
“But when you are in the first team and the fans know your name and who you are, yeah, that is a massive confidence boost. It is great to have people behind me and supporting me, not just the gaffer and the staff, but the fans as well.”
Thomas began his career in the academy at West Ham United, but failed to earn a scholarship with the Hammers and eventually ended up in the non-league game.
The winger was playing at Barking when a friend recommended the PASE Academy to him and he hasn’t looked back since.
“I was at West Ham for most of my youth career, but didn’t get a scholarship and went to Southend United for a bit and then I was playing for Barking.
“Boreham Wood felt like it was the right path for me though, my friends were here, and they were all recommending that I come to Boreham Wood and I don’t regret that decision one bit.
“When I was younger at West Ham, I was originally a striker and that was where I mostly played, so featuring there this season hasn’t been too foreign to me.
“It was when I came to Boreham Wood that I started playing on the wing, people like Ricky Shakes and Matty Whichelow said that they thought I would be more of a threat out wide.
“Then obviously going into the Elites with Cameron Mawer, I enjoyed being able to show what I could do out wide.
“Playing up front again for the first team, yeah it is a position that I would like to play for team, but it is wherever the gaffer wants to play me, I will play there and I’ll always give 100%.”
The 19-year-old has made nine appearances so far this season, and when asked about his aspirations and aims for the campaign ahead, Thomas continued: “The plan for the season is to try and earn a more regular place in the side, it has to be.
“I want to try and get a spot in the team, whether that is at right or left wing back or as a striker, or wherever I am needed. I want to try and make a spot my own.
“But there is a lot of competition here, there are a lot of good, clinical strikers here. But, it is good to have that competition for places.
“Everyone has got their individual goals and mine is just to play really and at the moment I think that it is going well, coming off from the bench and trying to make a mark. I am just doing what I can.”
Thomas realised a personal dream during the 2017/18 campaign, when he came on as a substitute at Wembley, in the Promotion Final against Tranmere Rovers.
“It is the kind of thing that you dream of when you are a kid. Harry Kane, Dele Alli, even Ronaldinho and Neymar, they have all played at Wembley Stadium. When we first went to Wembley on the day before the game, I was just dreaming, like I really hope that I do play tomorrow and do get a chance to show what I can do.
“The gaffer pulled me to the side during the Promotion Final at Wembley and said, ‘you’re coming on’ and nerves weren’t even the words to describe it, just pure happiness. Going on the pitch at Wembley was a dream come true.
“Seeing family in the crowd, who have come to watch me, some for the first time, and just going on the pitch, it was just a dream come true.
“When I first came here I was in with the PASE boys, but the coaches in the PASE Academy, like Cameron Mawer, Ricky Shakes and Danny Woodards, they’re top coaches and they helped and guided me through the academy, from PASE, and into the first team, to play at Wembley and against Crystal Palace. Don’t give up on your dreams when you are here, in PASE, anything is possible.”