Having been given a taste of senior football, young Wrexham defender Doug Tharme is now hoping for more but acknowledges the huge strides needed to adjust to a higher level.
Tharme was given his senior debut by Dean Keates on Saturday as the Dragons boss made seven changes to his starting line-up from the side that lost 4-1 at Macclesfield Town seven days earlier for the game against Harrogate Town in the first round of the FA Trophy.
The 18-year-old centre-half was beaten twice in the air by former Wrexham striker Mark Beck to notch both goals for the Town as the National League North high fliers claimed a 2-0 win to advance to the second round.
And Tharme, who has been on the fringes of the first team this season as an unused substitute against Hartlepool and the FA Cup loss at AFC Fylde, knows he needs to improve his physique as much as his ability if he is to make an impact at senior level.
“I am proud (to make my debut), but obviously disappointed with how it went,” said the defender.
“But getting the opportunity, I am glad I have impressed enough in training and I will use it as a learning curve to come back and hopefully make more appearances.
“Hopefully I will be able to look back on the game, see where I can improve. I think I need to get myself in the gym, get a bit stronger and get used to playing against men, because it was very different from between playing at under-18s. I don’t think I really appreciated it.
“You get familiar playing against the strikers in training, you get to know them, but when you come up against someone like that (Beck) which I have really never had any experience against, it was a change. But I will learn and hopefully I can come up against him again and I will be able to improve, that is all I want to do, to learn and improve.”
Keates had said in the build-up to Saturday’s FA Trophy clash to expect “one or two changes” regardless of the Dragons loss at Moss Rose the week earlier.
Wrexham finished with four youth players on the pitch at the final whistle – Tharme, Ryan Williams, Brandon Burrows and Cameron McGregor – as well as handing a debut to new signing Ferdinand Takyi.
Tharme, who hails from the Wirral and has been with Wrexham since under-16s, acknowledges he was given his chance as Keates opted to rest a number of senior players, but added that he had been given a huge boost ahead of kick off from the manager.
“He (Keates) just said all the best, he said I had earned it (a debut) and that I was to do what I had done in training,” said Tharme.
“I know there was a bit of rotation for the Trophy, but we go out to win and the manager said that in training I had been doing some good stuff.
“Obviously I am disappointed with personally how I have played, I think I can play a lot better than that, but up against strikers as big as Beck was, I will use it and hopefully come back better for it.
“I like to think I have put enough work in in training, and I like to think I have got a good work ethic, so just to get the opportunity regardless of whether it was rotation or earning it, I am just glad to get my debut.
“I am grateful that the gaffer, Andy (Davies, assistant manager) and Darlo (Carl Darlington, coach) trust me enough to put me in the team, and that the lads they accept me as part of the team and I will be trying my best.”
Source : DailyPost