Aaron McGowan is confident he’s mentally tough enough to make the step up to regular first-team football with Morecambe.
The former youth team captain, who only turned 18 in August, made his full Shrimps debut in the defeat at Mansfield Town on Tuesday night and is relishing the prospect of more starts for Jim Bentley’s side.
The attacking full back said: “I was made up to make my first start.
“I’ve had a few shots at it but to finally start a game was something I’d been working hard for and I thought I did well.
“The gaffer told me to keep my head right on Saturday around the Plymouth game which was good management to be fair because big Marvin Morgan and Reuben Reid are two of the best in this league.
“It would have been a tough game for me and then the gaffer said he was playing wing backs and I’m more offensive so he gave me a chance at Mansfield.
“In League 2 it’s more physical than youth and reserve level.
“I think you’ve got to be more mentally strong too, stepping up and still being confident and things like that.
“I believe I can well in the future.”
It was a losing debut however as the Shrimps were denied a point by Alex Fisher’s 90th-minute header.
McGowan said: “It was a difficult game to get into, covering Paz (Andy Parrish) when he was marking big (Mansfield number nine Matt) Rhead.
“I think I only marked him four times and he elbowed me about three of them.
“They’re a tough, physical side and didn’t play much football and I think we got drawn into a battle which isn’t what we wanted to do but it’s easier said than done.
“The last minute goal’s a bit of a killer but we just switched off which we need to work on. Obviously it happened with Tranmere too. “But we’ll get there and we’ve had a good start to the season and we’re pleased with how things are going.”
The Shrimps will hope to bounce back when they travel to AFC Wimbledon this Saturday, but McGowan knows they’ll be another physical battle awaiting the Morecambe defence.
He said: “They’ve just had a good win against Burton so it will be another tough game.
“(Adebayo) Akinfenwa up front means things won’t get any easier but we’re ready for the challenge.”
Another challenge McGowan is ready for is the one to get a regular starting place with Shaun Beeley set to return from injury this weekend.
And the young full back thinks the Shrimps will only benefit from boss Bentley having big decisions to make all over the field.
He said: “There’s a lot of competition for places and I think that’s what makes the squad so good this year.
“Last year the team basically picked itself but this year there’s plenty of healthy competition.
“I think it shows we’re going in the right direction.
“When there’s no competition people just sit back but everyone’s trying their best in training which is improving people as players as well.”