Jordan Moore-Taylor aims for more chances in first team
DEFENDER Jordan Moore-Taylor admits his promotion to the Exeter City first team has taken him by surprise.
But now he is there the 18-year-old first-year professional is determined to cement himself in Paul Tisdale's squad.
The youngster was one of the Grecians' star performers against Aldershot Town in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy 0-0 draw on Tuesday night, despite missing a penalty in the subsequent 4-3 shoot-out defeat which meant City crashed out of the competition.
And with Tisdale's squad currently boasting little cover for first-choice centre-half pairing Pat Baldwin and Danny Coles, Moore-Taylor is hopeful of getting more opportunities to shine in the future.
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The teenager said: "I didn't expect to be anywhere near the team when I signed in the summer. It's a bit of a surprise but things are going well.
"I came on last Saturday, got a couple of minutes there, started on Tuesday and I just want to push on now.
"There aren't many other centre-backs here apart from Pat and Colesy. I like to think of it as only me and Scot (Bennett) as back-up, so I am hopeful of squeezing in a few games here and there.
"I have played two different positions now – left-back (against Crystal Palace in the League Cup) and centre-half. It is nice to play in my preferred position in the middle and it has not been as big of a jump (up in standard) as I thought it was going to be.
"I will take the games as they come. If by Christmas I have played in a few then I might set myself a target for the second half of the season, but at the moment I'm just seeing what comes around the corner and seeing what happens."
Moore-Taylor's potential was certainly tested to the full on Tuesday as he came up against the powerful Michael Rankine.
Yet the youngster showed no fear as he kept tabs on the hitman, helping restrict Aldershot to a series of long-range efforts and half-chances in the process.
However, Moore-Taylor says he is under no illusions that there are not aspects of his game he needs to work on.
"On the ball I think I am quite decent, I just need to work on things in the air and the physical side. It's all about learning at this stage," Moore-Taylor said.
"We have got a decent squad so training is great preparation for the games, but there is nothing like actually playing.
"Rankine is a big lad when he comes on and he is going to trouble most centre-backs in the league.
"I think I did okay. There are still a few things that need sorting out, particularly in the air, but it's a start, isn't it?"
Penalty-taking is not necessarily an aspect of Moore-Taylor's game which needs a great deal of improvement, despite his miss against Aldershot in the shoot-out, which the Shots won 4-3 after Steve Tully also saw his attempt saved.
In the under-18s' penalty shoot-out ridden run to the final of the Football League Youth Alliance Cup last season, Moore-Taylor scored every spot-kick he was asked to take and Tisdale says the defender rarely misses in training.
Moore-Taylor said: "In training when we take them, they normally go in and we had a cup run with the under-18s last season, I took six penalties and scored all of them.
"I normally go higher with the penalties, so I'm a bit annoyed with that one against Aldershot, but I'm sure I will get another chance soon."