Our series looking at the upbringing of our Academy youngsters returns for another season and new scholar Silko Thomas talks about his idols and representing England...

What’s your earliest memory of playing football?

It would have to be having a kickabout with my dad in the park and a coach who was training some other boys asked me if I wanted to join in. From that point, I trained there with the same group of boys every Saturday.

Where did your footballing journey start?

After just training in the park for a few years, I ended up joining Carshalton Athletic and stayed there for two seasons. I was spotted by a Chelsea scout and asked if I wanted to attend a summer camp and got signed to the Academy in my Under-10 season.

Who were your idols growing up?

In football I have a couple. Ronaldinho is one because of his confidence – there’s nothing better being on the pitch and having confidence to do certain things in front of a crowd that gets them off their seat. And Cristiano Ronaldo because of his mentality, he always aims to be the best and it shows in his football.

Off the pitch, it would have to be my parents because of how hard they have worked in their lives to do anything they want to do. Whatever they put their mind to, they do it to the best of their ability and I want to be just like them.

Were you into any other sports as a youngster?

I remember doing a lot of swimming, not competitively but I used to go down to Crystal Palace as they had a swimming centre there. It was something I loved doing in my spare time. I would like to get back into it as it’s a good source of fitness.

Did you play in any other positions?

When I was spotted by Chelsea I was a midfielder wearing the number eight shirt at Carshalton. Once I joined the Academy the only position I can’t remember playing in was as a goalkeeper – I decided I liked to play in a forward position to get goals and create assists because that was the most enjoyable thing as a youngster. I’m definitely happy with the decision to play as a forward.

Earliest memory of watching football?

The moment I decided I wanted to play football was while I was watching my older brother and dad play in the garden. The next day I was out there trying to do what they were doing but I was too young to be any good at the time.

Which one footballing memory stands out from your career so far?

Fortunately I’ve had lots of good footballing memories so far but last year I travelled abroad with England to Italy and I was so excited. It’s a dream to play for your country and it was a very proud moment for me and my family.

Favourite holiday destination as a youngster?


Favourite food?

Jerk Fish.

Favourite boots as a youngster?

Total 90 Lasers.

-Fellow youngsters Luke Badley-Morgan and Malik Mothersille have this week signed their first professional contracts at the club. Both players have already featured this season for Ed Brand’s Under-18s, who are in action this afternoon against Norwich City at Cobham. Kick-off is 12:15pm.