Josh Key is proud to be a product of the Exeter City Academy and is making strides in League Two after barely a month as a first team player.
After scoring his first league goal in Saturday’s 2-1 win at Mansfield – his second of the season after an EFL Trophy goal against Forest Green – Key has quickly become a fan favourite amongst the City faithful.
“I really didn’t expect it [to score] to be honest but it’s a great moment for me,’ he said.
“I’ve made my family proud. Things like this give you great confidence and it really makes you feel part of the club when you’ve contributed. It’s paid off with a goal.”
Having spent last season on loan at Tiverton Town, Key has flourished this term with City and he is pleased that manager Matt Taylor has the confidence in the youth.
“Coming from the youth team always gives you that extra boost. Being a homegrown player gives you that extra little bit.
“The manager puts his trust is the young lads, with Joel [Randall] scoring against Salford and me scoring now, it’s given me loads of confidence.”
All the more impressive about Key’s start to life in League Two is he is playing out of his favoured position in midfield. Adapting well at right back in the absence of new signing Jake Caprice, he believes he has now made the position his own.
“The thing about playing full back is that you have a lot of the game in front of you, but I feel naturally more comfortable as a right midfielder or winger.
“When I was at Tiverton I played as full back for my whole first year so I wouldn’t say I felt uncomfortable, but I much prefer being a winger.
“But, I got in the team as a right back and if that keeps me in the squad then I’ll do it.”
Playing alongside Key at Mansfield were the experienced centre half pairing Tom Parkes and Rory McArdle, who between them have racked up almost one thousand appearances, and the 20-year-old says having the two next to him in defence is giving him some important lessons.
“It’s so reassuring and they are so calm on the ball. You know they’re going to eat the ball up when it comes to them in the area and it just gives everyone a bit of confidence to be ready for what comes next.
“Rory is always telling me what I’m doing well and what I need to do better and it’s a pleasure to play beside them.”