JASON Sraha says going from playing in the sixth tier in front of fewer than 500 people to making his Barnsley debut in the Championship was a ‘big change’ but one he relished.
The 19-year-old centre-back was recalled from his loan with National League North club Guiseley then started the Reds’ 3-1 loss to Preston North End on Saturday.
Sraha told the Chronicle: “It was a big change.
“At Guiseley the fans are closer to the pitch so you can hear everything they say.
“But it was a big difference to play at Oakwell in front of thousands of people in a bigger atmosphere. I went out on loan to develop the physical side of my game so I can compete in men’s football.
“It helped me. It’s a massive step up to the Championship but I felt good at that level on Saturday.”
The game was Sraha’s first in professional football, having moved to Barnsley last summer following spells in the academies of Arsenal and Chelsea.
He said: “It’s something I have been working towards all my life so I was just delighted.
“I had a rough idea the day before because of the shape we were doing in training but I didn’t know for sure until I saw the teamsheet.
“I didn’t really tell anyone apart from my brother and my dad.
“I didn’t have any family up here but they were watching on TV.
“We didn’t get the result but we started well, got the goal. I am learning parts of the game and I will get better day by day and game by game.”
Sraha is hoping to feature again against West Bromwich Albion in the final game of the season tomorrow before the Reds drop into League One.
“Hopefully I am involved in the last game and we can end the season well.
“Hopefully I can impress in pre-season, be given an opportunity and take it.”