Morecambe new boy Barkhuizen: I want to feel like a footballer again

Tom Barkhuizen.
Tom Barkhuizen.
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Tom Barkhuizen is ready to get his career back on track after swapping crisis-club Blackpool for Morecambe.

The wide man was released from his home town club after coming through the ranks at Bloomfield Road and had no hesitation in signing on with the Shrimps.

The 21-year-old did enough during a loan spell last season to convince Jim Bentley to snap him up and is ready to show his true potential at the Globe Arena.

“The manager told me when I went back that he was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t stay,” said Barkhuizen.

“I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t stay as well because I didn’t really get to show everything about me.

“There was the odd moment but there wasn’t as much consistency there as I would have hoped.

“But he kept in touch and said ‘if you get released we’ll definitely take you’.

“My relationship with the manager and the players was a big factor in me coming here.

“I just want to feel like a footballer again. It was really easy decision for me.”

Widely acknowledged as a player with promise the versatile forward could probably have played at a higher level.

But as soon as he heard Morecambe were back in for him, there was no doubt about where his future lay.

“As soon as I knew the manager was interested I told me agent that I didn’t want to listen to anything else,” said Barkhuizen, who has played around two-thirds of his career games in League 2 after loan spells with Hereford and Fleetwood.

“I didn’t want him ringing around because when you do get other interest I think it just messes with your head.

“My head was set on coming here and I didn’t want anything to distract from that.”

Barkhuizen has been a sideshow in the Blackpool circus with the side relegated rooted to the bottom of the Championship moving from crisis to crisis as fans protest against owner Karl Oyston’s ownership.

The Shrimps’ newest signing says he has no regrets after seeing a six-year association with his troubled hometown club come to an end.

“The last 18 months have been the most difficult because I think we won about seven games in 75,” said Barkhuizen.

“The whole place has become a bit down with the things going on with the chairman and things like that.

“It’s not a happy place to be around, even more so when you’re not playing.

“It’s definitely the right time to move on.

“I’ve got no regrets from there. It’s 100 per cent the right decision.

“I think when I’ve played I’ve done okay especially considering I haven’t played consistently for them.

“Hopefully I can get back on track here.”

The end of Barkhuizen’s Blackpool career came in an unfamiliar position of right back, not one he is keen to replicate with Morecambe, believing he can play in any of the front four positions for the Shrimps.

“The new manager (Lee Clark, who resigned at the weekend) came in a few months ago and told me I wasn’t part of his plans,” he said.

“Fair enough, you start looking after yourself and doing your extra work, even more so because you know you’re going to be out of contract in the summer.

“But when we had a shortage of players he thought ‘I’ll throw him in’ and I thought I did an okay job there.

“It’s definitely not my natural position though.

“I want to score goals and hopefully playing as an attacker here I can do that.”

Barkhuizen, like Shrimps fans, will hope those goals can turn a side that finished 11th in League 2 into one making a serious run at the League 2 play-off places.

“For a club of this size to be finishing 11th in League 2 is a good achievement,” he said.

“As players we want to go that one step further and I’m sure the other lads in the dressing room will be looking thinking we can definitely make a play-off push this season.

“We’ve got a good manager, good staff and if we do things right we’ve got a good chance.”