portadownfc.co.uk caught up with young midfielder George Tipton to chat about his life outside of Shamrock Park, his step up to first team football and his thoughts on the Title Run-In.
George, you have really solidified yourself in the squad this season, how have you found the step up to regular first team football?
I have found the step up challenging but one that I’ve loved and one that I believe I needed to take as I was loving playing for Neil (McCullough) and Pizza (Peter Mullan) with u20’s however when I came in Pre-Season it was my ambition to take the step up and prove it is where I belong. There has been many challenges since stepping up and lots to learn but you have to be able to adapt but I have to say it’s been a very good and a challenge that I want to continue on.
You are part of the NIFL Football Academy, explain to us what your normal daily routine is? Are you basically a full time footballer with some education mixed in?
I wouldn’t say I am a full time footballer however as young player here in Northern Ireland it is probably one of the best ways to improve yourself on a day to day basis and there are a lot of similarities in our set up at the NIFL Academy and ones in England so it is a positive for myself and others who go to it. We have a time table we stick by and it can vary on different days however we do a pitch session 3 days out of 5 with then the other 2 sessions in the gym. We also have classes in 3 different subjects that are spread out in the day, so for example on a Monday I have to start off with at 9:30am Anatomy and Physiology until 10:30am then a break for 30 mins. Then back to class for 11:00am for Sports Development which finishes at 12:00pm, then an hour for lunch followed by being out on the pitch for 1:15pm and training finishes at 2:30pm. It’s really enjoyable and I love doing it as it’s what I enjoy and I know I can only benefit from the program.
Including Pre-Season we count you as having 19 assists so far this season, what has been the secret?
I don’t think there is much of a secret, if you look how many of those assists have been from set pieces that’s the key and I believe that as a team we have a great understanding of what we expect of each other.The boys in the box know when I’m taking a set piece expect me to put the ball on their heads so I have to do it and the majority of the time the boys have been there to put them away and score so full credit to them too because I only do the easy job of putting it in the box, they have to finish it and make it count.
Title run in is well and truly now on with Ballinamallard United and Loughgall not far behind and plenty of big games to come, how do you approach these games personally?
Massive games to come, everyone knows that and we as players definitely know it but you have to approach it with the correct mindset you have to be so focused on every detail and you have to know what you are up against. I would go back and look at highlights and old games of the team we are playing against so I know where theie strengths and weaknesses are and obviously before games I have my own routines and stuff, but ultimately you can only think about one thing and that’s make sure you have 3 points by the end of a Saturday.
You have came up through the Club NI system and word on the street is that you have been looking at changing your national allegiance to represent NI at higher age groups, what is your outlook on that?
Yes this is true, I have been looking towards changing my national allegiance to represent NI at national level. I have got a cap for Northern Ireland at U16 level and would like to push on and try and break into the Northern Irish teams but if that happens, then it happens. I’m more concerned about Portadown at the minute and going further with them however it would be nice to play for Northern Ireland again as it it was a great experience.
If you had a message for Ports fans regarding the rest of the season what would it be?
If I had one message it would be support us ’till the end, as the fans have been great all season and been with us the whole way which has been great. At times really inspired us as players such as Ards away early in the season, Loughgall on Boxing Day and Glentoran away in the Irish cup and I would love to see support like that for the rest of the season to help us push on and get over the line.
Thank you to George for taking the time to speak to portadownfc.co.uk. Don’t forget you can still buy your entries in the clubs End of Season draw online, for more information just click the image below.