Barnsley forward Elliot Simoes is keeping in touch with family members in his home country of Portugal during the coronavirus outbreak.

Movement between countries is being restricted and the 20-year-old, who was born in Portugal and played in the youth systems of Benfica and Sporting CP, told the Chronicle: “I have a lot of family members and childhood friends over there. Because I came to England very young, I am used to not being close to my family members but I still talk to them every day. It is worrying in this situation but I keep in contact to make sure everything is good. I’m not sure when I’ll see them again.”

Simoes enjoyed being in the academies of two of the biggest clubs in European football. He said: “They were good times.  We played against clubs from all around the world and in tournaments all around the world.  “Sporting is one of the best academies in the world and it helped me a lot. I played with Rafael Leao who is a striker for AC Milan now and against Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid’s £100million signing) and Renato Sanches (European Championship winner who is now at Lille).”

Simoes eventually moved from Portugal to the North West of England and joined non-league club FC United of Manchester. He said: “It was hard to leave Portugal and go straight to non-league football in England. I wasn’t used to the pitches or the way football is played in non-league. I just tried to play my natural game and get the ball down. Then coming to Barnsley last year was a big step up and very different. I feel like I am improving all the time. I am playing with more experienced players. I can improve in training every day and the other players always help me.”

Simoes, who recently signed a new contract until 2023, has played ten Championship games for the Reds this season – two as a starter – and scored his first professional goal in the 2-1 loss at Derby County on January 2.  He is enjoying working with Austrian head coach Gerhard Struber who gave him his first start in professional football. Simoes said: “It’s been good. He always gives me advice in training to make me a better player. I have told him I trust him a lot and he’s shown he trusts me. He started me against Sheffield Wednesday in a position I don’t normally play.”

Simoes particularly praised Barnsley’s top-scorer Cauley Woodrow. “Cauley helps me a lot around the club. He has more experience than me and he knows I’m young and I have a lot to do.  He doesn’t need to do that, but he does. He tells me to relax and whenever I am down he talks to me.  He tells me I will make it and get to the top.”