Young winger Ethan Walker was delighted to get some first team minutes under his belt in a tough pre-season test against Everton at Goodison Park.
Walker started North End's final game of the pre-season schedule and the 18-year-old was pleased to be able to test himself against Premier League opposition.
Speaking at Springfields on Monday afternoon, Walker reflected on the experience at Goodison Park at the weekend, saying: "I was looking forward to it, it was a new test for me and for the boys as well and it was good.
"It was my first game of the new season so I was a little bit nervous before going out but I just tried to give my all and tried to impact the team as best as I could.
"It was nerve-wracking, I’ve been in training with the lads and everyone knows it’s a big squad here so it’s quite difficult to get in and around the starting Xl or even the subs so it was a little bit different finding out that I was going to be starting against Everton.
"It wasn’t just Everton’s weaker team either, it was a strong team so it was something to look forward to and it was a new challenge for me."
The youngster put in a solid display and would have been on the scoresheet but for a terrific save from Everton's young 'keeper Harry Tyrer and it's a moment Walker has replayed many times since.
"That’s one thing that I’ve been over thinking over and over again is what I could have done differently with that. I could have thought about playing it across goal or taking the shot differently but the ‘keeper made a great save and it’s something I have looked back on since and wondered if I could do anything differently but like I said, the ‘keeper had a great game and there is nothing you can do about it really.
"I loved the game, it was a great experience for me to play against some world class players and learn from them as well while I’m on the pitch.
"It was just a great experience, not just to test myself against Championship level players but it was Premier League players for Everton so it's definitely something that I have learned from."
The Academy graduate, who signed his first professional contract almost 12 months ago, spent time out on loan last season and feels that he has developed both on and off pitch since signing profesional terms and hopes to continue that progress.
"I just want to try and enjoy my football and not feel any pressure on my shoulders. I will go everything the gaffer tells me to do, all of the information I get from him I try to put in to my game and listen to try and make me a better player.
"I think over the last 12 months I have improved physically and mentally, going out on loan to the lower leagues isn't easy to play in and a lot of the games are about kicking the ball long and playing off the front player which is not my game really.
"I have understood the game a lot better from those experiences, I have learnt what it is like to fight for those three points and win games and what is at stake. I've developed from being a boy at youth level to hopefully a man playing men's football. These last 12 months have been a rollercoaster of emotions for me really but I'm loving every minute of it.
"Some of the players we have here are top, top class and there are experienced players who try and help me out, if I have made a mistake they will always pick me up on it and so I'm constantly learning. Being around top players you learn from what they do and what you can improve on and take in to your own game to make you the best you can be.
"I understand how many good players we’ve got here and I don’t take any day for granted, I like coming in and learning off some of the others players whether I’m playing or not. If I’m watching them play games I watch the others players in my position to see what I can learn from them.
"This season is about getting game time and finding what is best for us, I fully understand that there are a lot of good players here and a lot of them have won the chance to start week in, week out and the players on the bench have earned the right to make an impact so I am happy being in and around it at the moment and to keep learning.
"For the young lads like myself, we've just got to try and find what is best for us and if that means going out on loan to get game time to hopefully make us good enough for the gaffer then that's something we may do and we are happy to do what is best for us and the team."