Ipswich Town's new signing Callum Page determined to make the most of his opportunity at Portman Road
He may have earned himself a professional contract at Ipswich Town, but Needham Market’s Callum Page is well aware that the hard work is only just beginning.
The 19-year-old had an unusually long trial with the Tractor Boys, having first linked up with them in October last year.
Covid-19 restrictions kept Needham sidelined from early November onwards, and so their academy graduate Page spent the next few months trying to impress the coaching staff at Portman Road.
He made numerous appearances for their under-23s – managed by former England internationals Kieron Dyer and Terry Butcher – and also took part in a couple of training sessions with the first team following the appointment of Paul Cook as boss in March.
And he recently learned that all of his endeavour had been rewarded with a two-year deal – fulfilling a childhood dream in the process.
“It feels like a massive weight is off my shoulders. I’m really happy to have got it sorted,” he told Suffolk News.
“This is what you dream about doing as a kid – getting that contract at a big club.
“It was a bit different to a normal trial. Needham couldn’t play so I just got my head down at Ipswich and worked hard. I never got to ahead of myself – even when things were looking good – and just kept pushing every day.
“Everyone’s goal when they go pro is to make the first team and I’m the same. But I’ve just got to keep working hard.
“I would imagine I’ll start out playing and training with the 23s, but if the chance comes my way I’ve got to be ready to take it – that’s how football works.”
Page was particularly proud to be able to share the positive news with his parents.
His mum and dad have always been by his side, there to pick up the pieces when a previous trial did not work out.
“They’ve always believed in me,” added Page, who played in a variety of positions throughout his trial, including holding midfield.
“Sometimes I haven’t believed in myself but their support has been amazing.
“I had a two-week trial at Colchester a few years ago which didn’t work out but they kept me going.
“They’re my biggest fans and have been there every step of the way.”
Page is also keen to highlight the support he has received from Needham and manager Kevin Horlock – a former Ipswich midfielder.
There was a period when he questioned where things were heading at Bloomfields, but Horlock intervened and the rest – as they say – is
“Before Kev came in I was struggling to get a game for the reserves. I was on the bench a lot,” he said.
“But he watched me play for 10 minutes, started me in the next game and I scored a hat-trick. I’ve haven’t looked back since then.
“When you’ve got people like Kev, Kieron and Terry giving you advice and believing in you, it means a lot. These are people who have played at the very top of the game, they’ve been there and done it.
“And Needham have been fantastic. They’ve done so much for me and have always been there if I’ve needed help.
“They saw the potential in me and have given me the confidence to perform well.”