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Theo Archibald: 'Always a learning curve'

B Team forward on narrow defeat to Reading U23

28 January 2018

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B Team forward Theo Archibald sat down with iFollow last week to talk about the narrow 3-2 defeat suffered by Brentford B at Reading U23 on Wednesday afternoon.

"I thought, considering the conditions, we gave a fairly good account of ourselves," said Theo. "For the most part we tried to follow our principles, playing out from the back.

"Obviously, with the result at the weekend they played a similar strength team and they were obviously right up for it. They couldn't afford to lose again.

"It was a good game, the conditions didn't really help. The conditions meant that sometimes we had to play it a bit longer but I thought we tried to play out from the back. We hit the woodwork twice, we missed a penalty, on another day it could have almost been a comfortable victory. That wasn't the case but it's always a learning curve for you."

The 19-year-old scored his tenth goal of the season against The Royals, an acheivement he agrees is a good return so far.

"I think so," said Theo. "I guess I set individual targets. The first was obviously to score my first goal for Brentford, which happened in pre-season. The next was to start scoring more regularly and once you get four or five you start thinking about ten.

"Now I guess it's just getting 20 for the next half of the season. I think that would be a fairly good total for me personally."

This season has seen Theo adapt to more roles on the pitch than just an attacking left winger. At the weekend he had a spell at left-back in the second half. 

"I think it can only be a positive to be versatile," said Theo. "Looking at it from a personal point of view, if there's a space on the bench the gaffer might think that I can cover one, two or maybe even three positions. 

"It can only be a positive in that respect, and also it can develop you as a player. It can make you a little all-round and probably help you have a better career. It can only do you well to play in a number of positions and be trusted in those positions. I enjoy going into left-back, it gives me a different angle to run with the ball."

After the B Team's 9-1 victory over The Royals last Saturday, Theo told us how he felt playing among more First Team players. 

"Obviously the result makes that a little more merry," said Theo. "It was just a good team performance. I think when a lot of B Team players do get put to the bench I think there can be a little bit of annoyance because everyone wants to play as many minutes as possible in every game they can.

"It's good sometimes for the First Team to come down, not playing at Griffin Park but playing the games that we play in. They all put in a shift and you see the more mature side of it because these guys all play at a professional level and some play international football as well.

"I think it's good when the First Team players come down because you almost raise your level a little bit to try and keep up with them. You know that it's them that you've got to try and get in front of to actually start playing in the First Team."

Theo also spoke about the B Team model this season and how far the team has come in its second year.

"I've enjoyed it," he said. "Obviously, I haven't been here in previous years when the academy system was still here and you'd be playing against teams in a sort of category system.

"So to play against teams like Chelsea and Manchester City a couple of times, they are the top teams in the world, so i think it can only be a positive for everyone to play against the best players that they can possibly play with.

"We develop and learn, so I think it's a good system. Some people may say 'oh it's only a friendly' but the bottom line is that everyone is playing for contracts and there are going to be scouts at every game if they are looking to go out on loan.

"Everyone has their own ambitions and their own reasons to perform so, regardless of whether it's categorised as a friendly or a cup final, everyone is going to be trying their best. I think playing against the better teams instead of those teams in the academy system is a good thing."

Finally, Theo also told us about his season so far and how much he has progressed.

"I have settled in well down here," said Theo. "I have good friends down here. I enjoy the training, I enjoy the B Team setup playing against good teams on a regular basis. I'm just looking forward to the second half of this season and then further on from that."

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