Jasper Moon has gone from the ‘rock bottom’ of breaking his leg when possibly on the cusp of the first team to returning just before lockdown, but still believes he can play a part in keeping Barnsley up this season. 

The 19-year-old centre-back is highly-rated at Oakwell, having been on the first team bench in the Checkatrade Trophy last season and the EFL Cup this season after going on the pre-season tours of France and Germany.  Moon – who is from Coventry and spent eight years with Leicester City before joining the Reds aged 16 – broke his leg in a home match against Wigan Athletic for the under 23s in September. He told the Chronicle: “Their player landed on my leg and I knew I’d broken it. I held it up in the air and it felt wobbly. The physio came on and I said ‘I’ve broken it.’ 

"I had a bit of breakdown at the start of my rehab. I felt like I had been in such a good position then I was at rock bottom, I couldn’t walk or get my own food or shower properly.  It broke me but, since that day, I knew things could only get better.  I had been training with the first team but not getting gametime or being noticed then, after I broke my leg, Adam Murray became the caretaker manager and I’d worked with him before. I would have got more of an opportunity so that was frustrating but I used it to keep my positivity up through the injury.

"Being around the first team, you have a taste but you want more and more and more. “I started running in January and had another setback for a couple of weeks which was probably even more frustrating. But I am back now.”

Moon played 45 minutes for the under 23s against Leeds United and was due to play again the day football was suspended in March. He said: “I was training with the first team full-time and I was told the gaffer (Gerhard Struber) was impressed with me. Before my injury, I used to overthink things and try too hard but this time I was just playing the way I know which worked well for me. 

In Text Promo Image

"The injury gave me a lot of time in the gym, working with the sports science staff who were great. I got a lot bigger in my upper body and legs.  I used to think people could outmuscle me but now they can’t and I am ready for men’s football.”

Barnsley have been low on centre-backs this season, with Mads Andersen being dropped earlier this year, Bambo Diaby suspended following an alleged failed drugs test and Aapo Halme often used in midfield.  Moon – who played three games on loan to non-league York City last season – could potentially be one or two injuries or suspensions away from the first team matchday squad if the season resumes next month.

“I am hoping for a chance. I am yet to make my debut and that’s what I really want and what my whole family wants. It would be great to play a part in keeping the club up. Being at Barnsley has been the most enjoyable time of my life in football. I have gone from being a boy to a man and learned a lot about myself. I have never had coaches who had played football professionally and that is what you get here which has taken me to the next level and improved me a lot.”