West Brom loanee adapting to life at the Hawks

Alex Bradley. Picture: Keith Woodland
Alex Bradley. Picture: Keith Woodland
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Young West Brom loanee Alex Bradley admits playing National League football with the Hawks has been a massive learning curve.

It is the 19-year-old's first experience of playing senior football.

Bradley came through the Baggies youth ranks and was a regular for the club’s under-23 PL2 side.

In his early career, the Hawks loan man has also had a taste of international football with Finland under-19s in the European Championships.

After showing some inexperience early on at West Leigh Park, Bradley has recently displayed signs of coming to terms with the demands of senior football.

The midfielder scored a stunner in the 5-2 win against Maidstone United at West Leigh Park last weekend, bagging his second Hawks goal.

Most felt his performance in that game was his best yet for the club.

And Bradley’s confidence appears to be growing with each passing game.

'In my first three or four games I didn't know what to expect,' said Bradley.

'Men's football was something I had never experienced before.

'I’ve had to learn when I can get on the ball and when to pick it up and run with it.

'What surprised me most was the physicality of it all.

'In PL2 football a lot of the emphasis is being good on the ball.

'If you stand still for five or ten seconds off the ball it doesn't show.

'In the National League if you do that then you get found out straight away.

'Movement and anticipation are far more important.

'It is as much about what you do off the ball as what you do on it.'

Bradley's loan spell is due to end in January and is unsure whether his stay with Lee Bradbury’s side could be extended.

But he is convinced when he does return to the Hawthorns he will be a better player for his time with the Hawks.

'I am hoping to get up to 15 games in with the Hawks and it is doing me the world of good,' said Bradley.

'Hopefully it will help kick-start my next step up the ladder.

'For the first time I am starting to understand how massively important it is to get three points.

'In junior football it is more about player development than the emphasis on winning.

'Every point counts in the National League.'

Like every other player in the team, the youngster endured a difficult evening at Dagenham & Redbridge in midweek.

Although disappointing, it provided another valuable learning experience for the Finnish talent.

'We were not really at it from the first minute,' said Bradley.

'Although we played some good football at times, it wasn't done fast enough.'