How a late night phone call and nine months of hard work led to Page turning pro with Ipswich
- Credit: ITFC/Terry Hunter
New Ipswich Town signing Callum Page has revealed how a call out of the blue ultimately led to him becoming a professional footballer.
The 19-year-old has signed a two-year deal at the club, with the Blues holding a 12-month option, following a long but ultimately successful trial period.
Page was playing in non-league for local side Needham Market when the phone rang in October, with the youngster asked to play for the Blues’ Under 23s and given just a few hours’ notice.
The rest is history.
“It’s an unreal feeling and it’s hard to describe,” Page told BBC Radio Suffolk.
“Every young footballer wants to become a professional but when it hits you it’s surreal. I’m happy to have it done and I just want to kick on now.
“Last October I got a call from the manager at Needham Market saying Ipswich Under 23s wanted me to play for them the next day, so that was really short notice. I played against Coventry the next day, came on at half-time and probably played the best half of football I’ve ever played in my life.
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“I kind of preferred it that way because, if I’d had a week’s notice, I would have had a week to panic and be nervous. But I went into it very relaxed and comfortable.
“Since I’ve been on trial I’ve obviously had a few games where I haven’t been 100% but I didn’t play badly and my attitude’s been good so I did all I could to fit in. I was just being myself, playing my football and it’s obviously worked for me.
“I always backed my ability. Football’s a game of opinions and some of the coaches at Ipswich might have thought I was a worldie and others might have thought the oppositive, so there’s always a worry in the back of your mind.
“Thankfully I feel as if I made a good impression on the coaches, got the job done and am an Ipswich player now.
“It’s a surreal feeling right now.”
Asked what he sees as his best position, the youngster said: “I get asked this a lot and, me personally, I like to play just behind the striker as a No.10 because I feel I’m quite direct and have good, quick fit with some smart runs.
“I can play as a holding midfielder and as a winger, but probably not as a striker. I’ve played there a few times for Needham but it’s not really my favourite position.
“I’ve always been an attack-minded player, ever since I was little. I would say I’m a goal-scoring midfielder despite not scoring many goals so far for Ipswich.
“Growing up my idol was Steven Gerrard because I loved the way he plays and moved the ball. I love how precise his passing is and how rarely he made mistakes. More recently I want to push on and become an attack-minded player so I’ve been watching Jack Grealish very closely, with the way he manipulates the ball and draws fouls left, right and centre.”
Page will work with Kieron Dyer and Terry Butcher’s Under 23 squad next season as he looks to make his mark, with the midfielder excited by what lies ahead.
“They are very firm in what they want and believe in, with high standards,” he said.
“They always tell your straight if you’re having a stinker or what you can do to improve. They’re always giving me pointers to try and stand out.
“It’s mad going from training one night a week to five days at Ipswich. It becomes serious and then extremely serious very quickly.
“It’s such a big opportunity for me.”