MARLON FOSSEY says the decision to join Bolton Wanderers was an easy one, as he looks to kick-start his career with the League One outfit.
The former Janvrin School pupil joined the former Premier League club on loan from Fulham earlier this month, with a view to making a permanent transfer in the summer.
Not that Fossey is looking that far ahead. For now, he is simply pleased to take things one game at a time, after a young career hampered by injury.
The 23-year-old made his Bolton debut 24 hours after signing, in a 1-0 EFL Cup loss to Hartlepool United. He started the next two games too – a 2-0 loss at home to Wycombe Wanderers was followed by a win against Ipswich Town by the same scoreline, where he impressed at right wing-back.
Those early performances have left Fossey feeling upbeat about his new surroundings.
‘Apart from the consistent cold weather, I am loving my time here,’ says Fossey. ‘It’s a lot more intense than what I’ve been playing with in the [Fulham] U23s.
‘In terms of my first few games, I would definitely say I’ve had an impact, at least going forward. Maybe at the start the intensity caught me off a little bit but the more games that are played, the more I will seamlessly transition into this team. They will know my game more, I will know their game and things will get a lot easier.’
In part due to injury, Fossey was unable to break into the Fulham first team, after being tipped for a potential top-flight appearance with the Londoners in 2018/19.
He made his senior debut last season, on loan at Shrewsbury Town, where he made seven first-team appearances before injury again cut his spell short.
Fossey does not feel like he is having to make up for lost time, but he does appreciate that a breakthrough is needed soon.
‘Everyone’s path is different,’ he said. ‘I’m an ambitious person. I’m just taking my first steps and League One is where I want to start. I’ve got my eyes on the big competitions and big trophies, and I’m hoping to start well and kick on as much as I can.
‘It’s now vital I get some first-team experience. The only thing that’s been lacking in terms of big forward steps in my career is just consistency in the games I’m playing.
‘League One offers the opportunity to play two games a week most weeks, which is something I’m looking forward to. The least I can do is try and make sure I’m available for all the games and the rest will take care of itself – if I work hard, keep my head down and stay focused.
‘I’ll just try and learn as much as I can every game and try and keep my position in the team. The more I can play the more my game will improve.’
Despite all the injury setbacks, Fossey is feeling confident in his body now and feels he understands what he needs to do to mitigate the risks of spending any more time on the treatment table.
‘I think when you have your first couple of injuries as a young player, I think it’s easy to get into the trap of working extra extra hard,’ he explained. ‘I was in a situation where people around me were progressing, while I’m in the gym rehabilitating. That would sometimes cause me to do a little bit too much and neglect the rest side of things. I think that just led me to break down a bit too much.
‘I think now nowadays, I’ve got a balance. Now I know my body more, I know how much I need to work. I know how much I need to rest and I think I’ve got that balance in order.’
Bolton, who travel to Shropshire to face Shrewsbury today, are currently 17th in the table. After years spent in the Premier League under the management of Sam Allardyce, the club have been in the doldrums of late, with their very existence under threat due to mounting debts until they found new ownership in 2019.
The rebuilding process will take some time, but Fossey is under no illusion of the four-time FA Cup winners’ illustrious history.
‘You have pictures all over the training ground and the stadium of the many legends that played at this club. When I was a kid I followed the Premier League and I remember all the Bolton players of that time. I just hoping to do my little part to help them get at least close to where they once were.’
Fossey’s parent club has built up a solid relationship with Jersey in recent years and, along with the USA U20 international, there are other Jersey boys on the books at the Cottagers. Luke Harris played alongside Fossey in the U23s, while Callum Osmond and Luca Picotto are also in the academy.
Should any other Islanders make the breakthrough, Fossey has some words of advice to share.
‘The hard work should be the first priority but you just need to enjoy it. Enjoy the football,’ he said.
‘I think the fact that I played so many sports just put a little bit less pressure on me in terms of doing well, because I was doing gymnastics, athletics, cross country, all of that other stuff as well. If you’re passionate about the game, it’s second nature to be able to put the work in. In terms of my career, don’t disrespect the aspect of rest and recovery too, because that’s where the gains are made too.’
Hopefully that comes true for Fossey and he can now enjoy the career that his ability has been promising for so long now.