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Interviews

Chapman on making an impact at Cheltenham and his time at Lincoln City

17 November 2020

Ellis Chapman has worked his way into the Cheltenham Town starting XI after an impressive performance recently in the FA Cup first round against South Shields.

Despite still being just 19 he's already shown the maturity that's seen him make over 40 senior appearances in the Football League and National League.

He started for the first time in a League game for the Robins in Saturday's 2-1 win at Carlisle United.

He'll be looking to make himself a regular in Michael Duff's midfield with a busy week coming up with Walsall, Cambridge United and Crewe Alexandra all set to visit the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.

You made your Cheltenham Town debut a few weeks ago against Forest Green. It must have been pleasing to get that opportunity?

I was looking forward to it for a long time. I've had a difficult time over lockdown and everything because I've not done much training at all so the fact that the gaffer showed trust in me to bring me on in what was a derby and such a massive game I was delighted.

That was the first game you've played since February, that's a long time not to play football?

If anything it has been driving me insane because I've not had a proper pre-season. It's been the first time in a long time. So coming in here it was important for me to try and get match fit and I couldn't have asked for a better game to come on in. We haven't beaten them for whatever how many years it was. It had been a long time since I've played football so it was really nice to get back out there.

You have appeared in midfield so far and there have been suggestions you can play in other positions as well. What do you feel you are as a player?

I get asked that a lot. I think one of the positives of it is that I'm a versatile player. Especially in this formation that we play as a team I can play anywhere up the left-hand side - left wing back, left centre half, left central midfield. I can even play up front if you want me to! There are a few positions I can play but at the end of the day I am a young lad just looking for game time so I'll play anywhere.

As you get older do you think you'll become a one position player?

I think that's what it is like for the majority of people when you get more senior but that's hopefully a long way away for me so I don't really want to think about it too much now. I think it will do, it happens with a lot of players now, they seem to work their way from the top end of the pitch down to the bottom to centre half!

In terms of your career you're only 19 but it feels like you've been around quite a long time. Do you feel you're quite a mature 19-year-old because of that?

A lot of people I speak to about myself they say I'm mature for my age. I've been really lucky really over the years through academy and breaking through to the first team I've always played with people who are older than me or trained with people who are older than me. I've always been around people who are older than me so it's helped my maturity levels definitely. I've definitely got a level head on.

Coming from Lincoln City having been there for so long was it quite a big thing when your time at Lincoln came to an end?

It was a little bit disappointing. It definitely didn't end how I wanted it to. I wanted to play a lot more games for them. It's a fantastic club and definitely a club that I'll hold close to my heart for the rest of my life because obviously I am a Lincoln boy. It was fantastic to actually put the shirt on for them. I was a little bit disappointed with the way it ended but I can't wait for this new challenge here at Cheltenham.

Lincoln as a club - what was it like seeing the change at the club from when they were struggling in the National League to their growth and push for promotion to the Championship now?

It is quite astonishing to be honest. Things were looking bad, there were literally a thousand fans in at the stadium and then three or four years later we were getting 10,000 at the ground every week. It's always a sell out. That is the thing that impressed me most about being in the first team, the fans are phenomenal. They are always there in numbers every week - home and away. It's been quite a contrast from what it was like back then to now.

How did you find working with the Cowley's?

The Cowley's were fantastic for me. They've treated me as one of their own and put their arm around me all the time. They definitely helped me develop as a player. I'm so grateful for them because they gave me my debut in all the competitions that I've played in so far. They've always wanted to help me and they're very good successful managers, so who wouldn't want to work for them kind of people?

You did spend some time at Leicester a few years ago, but quite often when young players break in so early they get moves to Premier League clubs. You've gone the other way and decided to get football 'now'. Is that quite a big thing for you?

That is exactly what it is. You've just hit the nail on the head there. I've done it the other way because I've had a taster for it. Under-23s football to first team football is so different. I'm a competitive person so I like going to the stadium when there are fans and I like going to the game when you're playing for points. It's a different way to do things definitely as a young player and I've thoroughly enjoyed everything that I've done and I've not regretted any decisions that I've made.


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