Netcafe with Will Hatfield live now!

By Ray Simpson

Netcafe with Will Hatfield live now!

Midfielder answers your questions

Darlington midfielder Will Hatfield answers your questions (and there are plenty of them!) in tonight's netcafe.

We'd like to thank Will for taking the time out to answer questions -- if you want to ask one, send it to media@darlingtonfc.org, and we'll pass it on to Will.

 

Season tickets for next season are available now:

https://darlingtonfc.co.uk/news/2021-season-ticket-update

 

Don't forget about the sale in Quaker Retail!

https://darlingtonfc.co.uk/news/quaker-retail-sale-continues

 

Who was the first big influence on your career?

Neil Redfearn – My coach at Leeds United, I could relate to him as he was a central midfielder and played very similar to how I do. I still keep in contact with him on a regular basis.

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Who was your first boyhood football hero?

Alan Smith. He was a Leeds lad, I loved how committed he was on the pitch and loved watching him play at Elland Road.

 

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What brand was your first pair of football boots?

All black Puma Kings

 

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Have you always been a midfielder?

Yes, always wanted to be in the middle of the action.

 

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When did Leeds start taking notice of you? Were there any other clubs interested at the time?

From the age of 8, I was playing for my Local team, Liversedge FC while at the same time having a 6-week trial at Leeds. That led to me signing my first contract with Leeds for the Under 9’s.  Leeds was the only team for me at the time.

 

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When did you first join Leeds?

9 years old

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What was your first big game as a youngster?

FA Youth Cup Vs Liverpool at Elland Road when I was a first year scholar. We lost unfortunately, but it was a great experience against a strong Liverpool team.

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Your trademark at Darlington is your long range shooting, did you have an ability to shoot from long distance as a youngster?

Yes, I did score a few long-range goals growing up but certainly feel I should have scored a lot more. Hopefully more to come!

 

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When you were at Leeds, which first team players did you rub shoulders with?

Fabian Delph, Jonny Howson, Robert Snodgrass, Tom Lees,

 

Fabian Delph

 

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Which good habits that you gained as a professional do you think you’ve kept?

Good work ethic, been on time, OCD, having a routine the night before every game.

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How did it feel scoring four times in a game for Accrington Stanley in the FA cup?

Thinking back now pretty awesome, at the time I was just on a real high and couldn’t believe it.

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At what point did you think about having a career outside of football?

When I left Accrington Stanley and joined Halifax Town. Been part time you need to keep busy during the day, so there was no better time to start building my career for after football.

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You were at Guiseley for four years, what was your highlight there?

Surviving relegation in my first two seasons, both on the last game of the season, what was an amazing feeling at the time. 

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What made you decide to come to Darlington?

Alun Armstrong and Michael Liddle

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From Dave Turner

Does Will have any theories as to why all his goals for Darlo have been away from home?

 

Also the goals are very similar - shots from range - is this typical of his goals throughout his career prior to joining us and can he describe the best goal he's ever scored?

 

No theories what so ever. Yes, most of my goals throughout my career have been from outside the box. My best goal I have ever scored must be my volley against Cambridge in the FA CUP Live on BBC.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/football/46172101

 

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From Roy Elliott

Your energy level in a match is incredibly high, is this down to you’re a high energy diet or intensive training.?

 

I've naturally always had a high level of fitness and I do try keep to a healthy diet especially a few days before a match, but honestly, it is just how I like to play the game.

 

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From Tom Mann

What has been your favourite moment so far during your time at Darlo? 

 

Hope to see you in a Darlo shirt next season! 

 

The 96-minute equaliser Joe Wheatly scored at Walsall in the FA Cup and also my first goal for Darlington away at Solihull. 

 

A never-to-be-forgotten moment Joe Wheatley scores at Walsall

 

 

 

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From Ruth Hetherington

 

You’re in a dream team of eleven players,who would the other ten players be?

 

  1. Alisson Becker

 

  1. Trent Alexander Arnold
  2. Virgil Van Dijk
  3. Sergio Ramos
  4. David Alaba

 

  1. Lionel Messi
  2. Kevin De Bruyne
  3. Will Hatfield
  4. Neymar

 

  1. CR7
  2. Kylian Mbappe

 

 

 

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What’s been the best goal you’ve ever scored?

 

My Volley against Cambridge in the FA CUP playing for Guiseley.

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How did you feel when Joe Wheatley scored at Walsall?

Couldn’t believe it, best ever moment on a football pitch by far. I was thinking how have we lost this game, I was so angry and then when we scored was just pure relief.

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Assuming the table doesn’t change, how happy are you with our league position this season?

From the start we made and losing key players, I would be satisfied in our current position, however I do feel slightly disappointed we are not sitting in the play offs as we have thrown points away through out the season.

 

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From Adam Cattell

Congrats on a great season Will, sorry it’s had to end prematurely for everyone. My first question is who has been your toughest opponent you have faced this season and overall in your career?

Toughest opponent this season would be Jimmy Spencer of Farsley Celtic, I have had battles with him from the age of 10 when he was at Huddersfield Town so he has always been a tough opponent, unfortunately done the double over me this season. Overall, in my career I would say Shane Byrne who plays for Brackley, his ability on the ball is very impressive, he is one player I find it hard to get it off.

You’ve formed a good partnership in the middle with Joe Wheatley and Omar Holness. Why do you think it’s clicked between the three of you?

 

We all offer something different; Joe Wheatley is that protection to allow me and Omar to have that freedom to get around the pitch and he also links play up very well. Omar gives everything for the cause and can always relay on him to score a goal or 2. As a 3 we have developed a great understanding for each other and know each other’s role in the team.

 

 

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From Paul Hodgson

When do you think you'll make up your mind about next season? i.e. whether you intend staying or going.  I appreciate this is difficult given the current circumstances

I would love to stay and I am sure once we know when we are back playing then I am sure we can get something sorted.

And what are your thoughts on PL clubs furloughing their non playing staff, with tax payer's money? whilst the players are still earning huge amounts of money?

Shouldn’t happen, the clubs at that level have more than enough money. I certainly believe that all the top players will play their part and protect non playing staff and also will be giving their own contribution to the NHS and people who need it most in these crazy times.

 

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From Max Stainsby (aged 7)

What has been your favourite moment since joining Darlo?

 

Scoring my first goal for the club and most certainly our FA Cup run.

 

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You've been immense this season, hopefully there'll be many more, taking Darlington back into the football league.

*Who were your role models in football & why?

My role models were players who I felt I could relate to in terms of their position and the way they played the game, examples, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Alan Smith etc

*What's your favourite moment in a Darlo top so far?

Scoring my first goal for the club and also the amazing feeling when Joe scored the last second equaliser at Walsall.

*Where do want your statue Will, ground or town centre?!

Let's say town centre, as you never know we might move grounds at some stage haha

 

 

 

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From Alan Dell

 

What has been the most memorable moment in your illustrious  football career to date.

Being named on the bench the first time for Leeds United against Tottenham in the FA CUP Fourth Round replay.

 

 

 

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From Ryan Reed

 

Now then Will.How have you liked this season as a Darlington FC player and just one thing -- what will the chances be of you signing next season’s papers? Also, best memory so far as a Darlo player?  

Been amazing first year and Im really enjoying my time at Darlington. The chances of me staying are high, so I am hoping once we are back playing and know the plan moving into next season, we can start finalising things.  

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 From Mick Barrass 

When you were at Leeds  you went on loan to York/ Halifax, why do a lot more promising young players from League clubs not go out on loan to clubs like Darlington? Is the perception too much of a drop in quality or a lack of opportunities?

 

Good question, I feel when I was growing up it was easier for clubs to let their young players go on loan as they didn’t have a U23s squad they needed to fill every week. It certainly helped me going on loan and feel I should have gone on loan a lot earlier in my career. It shouldn’t be about the quality, as at that ages it's about learning to do everything in your power to get 3 points on a Saturday as that’s so important in first team football.

 

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From Carolyn Liversedge

1.  Really enjoyed watching  you play, you are the type of player we desperately needed in midfield since we lost Leon Scott.  Have you signed for Darlington next season?

I haven't signed yet but once we are back together then we can look forward and finalise my contract for next season I hope.  

2:  Can you tell us something about your playing background before you came to Darlington and also what made you want to sign for us?

I started at Leeds United from the age of 8, I had 2 loan moves in my time at Leeds to York City and Accrington Stanley. I signed 2 and half years at Accrington permanently before leaving to Halifax Town for 6 months, I then had 4 years at Guiseley before joining Darlington. What made me sign for Darlington was the history of the club and also the size of the fan base, was my good friend Michael Liddle who was desperate for me to join him 3.

What are you doing to keep fit during the corona virus? 

Lots of road running, pitch runs and HIIT Sessions in the garden.

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My name is Michael Stimson life long Darlington supporter and season ticket holder.

How has this season compared to previous ones at other clubs?

 

This season has been excellent for me personally, touch wood not had any major injuries and the manager has played me in every game that I have been available and giving me that confidence to express myself is massive for any player. I do feel my relationship with the manager is the stand out point compared to previous clubs I have been at.

 

What has been your favourite moment of the season?

 

2 favourite moments stand out, my first goal for Darlington and the 96th Minute equalizer at Walsall in the FA Cup

 

You have been outstanding this season and have clearly become a fans favourite and favourite to win player of the season. How have you enjoyed playing in front of the Darlo Fans this season and how does it compare to other team’s supporters?

 

I loved every minute playing in front of the Darlo Fans this season and I do miss it. It’s the numbers you turn out in, home and away always support in big numbers and it really does give you a buzz to perform and not to let you all down.

 

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 From Mike Heseltine 

First of all congratulations on a great first season so far with Darlo. -

Thank you

 

I'd be interested to hear your answers to the following:

 

  1. Best player you've ever played against? Sterling when he was at Liverpool in the Academy.
  2. Best player you've ever played with? Fabien Delph or Danny Rose
  3. Toughest opponent (player) since joining Darlo? Jimmy Spencer ( Farsely Celtic )

 

And just for fun...

 

  1. Who is the king of the nutmeg in training at Darlo? Jarrett Rivers best ever in small sided games.
  2. Who is the player who gets megged most in training? Louis Laing

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Thanks for all the questions, folks, we're doing our best to keep up! Will is answering them as quickly as he can! Plus we're having a break at 8pm to applaud the NHS.

 

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From Jim Smith

 

How do you maintain your running and high engine levels for 90 minutes?

 

I think it’s down more to how I play. I have always played with high energy; it’s how I like to play the game, being on the front foot and playing at a high tempo for 90 Minutes. 

 

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From Adam Brownless

 

What is the biggest change you have noticed from playing football at full time to part time?

 The biggest difference is when you’re a part time player you don’t get the time to work on small details, for example tactics, formations, analysing your opponents and sharpness. I am not saying we don’t do this but we just don’t have enough time in the short time we are together.   

Also what was your main reason for dropping to part time? 

The main reason was when I was on loan at Halifax from Accrington, Halifax was part time and during that time, I got offered a job and really enjoyed it. So, when I had the chance to join Guiseley in the National League part time, I thought it was a great chance to have the best of both worlds. 

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From Andy Clarke

Which non league ground do you enjoy visiting the most? Either the one that has the best facilities, or just one that you enjoy playing in the most? 

Ps. Sign a new contract x Andy Clarke

 

I love playing at Bootham Crescent (not for their facilities) and last season playing at Edgeley Park, both grounds always had good atmospheres and surroundings. I also like playing at Curzon Ashton as their pitch is always very impressive.  

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From Ian Taylor

Will firstly thank you for a great season so far. We all appreciate your outstanding effort game in game out. How are you managing to keep fit during this lockdown ? 

 

I am doing lots of road/field runs and trying to do daily HIIT sessions on my patio. I have not stopped since our last game, it’s all about keeping on top of my fitness that I built up during the season.  

 

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 From Ian Keelan 
Out of the current Darlo squad who do you think has the ability to play in the football league?  

 

Good question, majority of the squad could handle themselves in the football league for sure and have played in it before but it is all about getting the opportunity. The younger lads in the squad like Joe Wheatley, Justin Donawa, Ben Hedley and Alex Storey have a great chance as long as they keep their heads down, maintain high standards and are playing well for Darlington week in week out.  

 

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From Digannio

 

Why did you decide to pursue your sporting career in football rather than cricket?

 

At 16 I had the chance to join Yorkshire CCC or Leeds United on a full time basis, but it was always going to be Football, as from the day I joined Leeds at 8 it was my dream to be a professional footballer and with a 4 year professional contract on offer to me, it was a no brainer but I still love my cricket and try to play when I can.

 

Will you be playing for us next season and what are your ambitions?

 

I hope I will be playing for Darlington next season. My ambition is to get Darlington into the football league, I am at a good age now to kick on and keep performing to a high level, there’s no reason why Darlington shouldn’t be in the football league with the structure and the history of the club.

 

What do you do outside of football?

 

I am a Senior Recruitment Consultant in Logistics – UK/Europe

 

What did you make of that extraordinary support in the cup game at Walsall. You seemed blown away by it in your interview.

 

Was amazing, it was a special day. The turnout was incredible and the atmosphere you created was something I will never forget.

 

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From Ron Bradshaw

Hi Will

 

If you are with us next season (and the answer has to be yes), I am confident with our injured players returning and possibly another 3 signings we will have a very good side and every chance for a crack at promotion.

 

What do you think ?

 

I certainly think we can, at the start of season the squad Alun put together was very impressive and surprised me how good a players we had, Unfortunately with key long term injuries it did set us back. I am confident with Alun in charge he will add to what we have and like you said give it another good go for promotion. I am not giving up on getting promoted this season, lets just see how things plan out.   

 

How have you found playing for us this season compared to your previous club Guiseley and what has been the difference?

 

The difference has been that I've been surrounded by top players here at Darlington and also playing a style of football that suits my game. The Gaffer has also believed in me from day one and that makes me want to perform for him week in week out. 

 

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From Mark Shackleton

I always like to see a midfielder being competitive also l love to see them wind up their opposition player. Do you enjoy that side and if so any one you like winding up.?

 I love that competitive edge, I feel you need it to be successful , I am not a Neymar or Messi so I have stamp my authority on the game in different ways. If that means me getting tackles in  and winding some players up to get the edge then great. 

We'd like to thank Will for taking so much time to answer all your questions tonight, we're sure everyone will agree that it's much appreciated.

We hope to organise more netcafes during the lockdown, keep an eye on the official website for details.

In the meantime, look after yourselves, stay safe at home, and protect the NHS.