Vashon Neufville had never heard of Newport County eight days ago, but already the talented West Ham teenager is written into the club’s folklore.
It was the 19-year-old wing back’s cross that earned his side the penalty that enabled Padraig Amond to hit the back of the Leicester City net and claim a 2-1 win over the recent Premier League champions to provide the biggest giant-killing act of the third round of the FA Cup last weekend.
A week on, Neufville is hoping to back up his first game of senior professional football with his league debut at Crewe today (Saturday) as he begins to adjust to the extreme culture shock of swapping one of the top academies in British football for life in League Two.
“I was supposed to train at West Ham on the Friday morning last night and I got told not to train. I was told to get ready to go out on loan, but I didn’t know where to begin with,” admitted the former England Under 16 and Under 17 international.
“I’d never heard of Newport County before and I’d only ever been to Wales once before in my life – for the Victory Shield game against Wales in Bangor at Under 16 level. I had no idea I’d be playing in the FA Cup two days later.
“I got down on the Friday night and trained on Saturday. I got told I was starting on Sunday and up until then I had no idea I might be playing against Leicester City.
“I just tried to stay calm after the manager told me I’d be playing. I rang my parents and then tried to get them some tickets.
“The game was sold-out, but the club were very helpful in finding me a few tickets for my Mum and Dad. After the game it wasn’t clicking in my head that I’m now part of the club’s history.
“It was a crazy experience and very different from playing academy football. At that level we are taught to play a different way, while here the manager told me to play some long balls.
“It was a good game, I enjoyed every minute of it and now I can’t wait for the next one. I hope I can hold my spot for the game at Crewe because it would be my first league game.”
Former England Under 16 team mates Mason Mount, on loan at Derby County from Chelsea, and Jonathan Leko, at West Brom, Dujon Sterling, on loan at Coventry City from Chelsea, have already beaten him to the punch on league debuts, but Neufville is hoping to make up for lost time between now and the end of the season.
“It was a bit of a culture shock when I first arrived. It is very different to West Ham, even down to little things like breakfast in the mornings,” said Neufville.
“I was living at home with my Mum in London, but now I’m sharing a house with Joss Labadie and Tyler Hornby-Forbes. They are looking after me and Joss has been doing all the cooking for me.
“I love Caribbean food and I love take-aways, but I’ve got to make sure I’m eating the right stuff. So far Joss has made us Fajitas and Shepherds Pie.”