Uxbridge starlet Lewis Wallace claims he is reaping the benefits of taking a gap year away from football.
The then teenager made a conscious decision in the summer of 2012 to walk away from the sport for 12 months after things at his previous club Boreham Wood turned sour, throwing himself into the world of nine to five work almost as a form of therapy.
Now 20, and with appetite restored, he returned to the field of play at the Reds’ trials day in July and was immediately clocked as a standout performer by Uxbridge boss Tony Choules.
He has gone on to be a virtual ever-present this season and is ready to push his claims for a career in the sport once more.
“I was in a different place mentally a year ago so I chose to work instead of playing football just to clear my head,” said Wallace.
“I wasn’t playing as well as I should have been so I effectively took a year out to get over my disappointment and restore my hunger for the game.
“I think Uxbridge not having a regular left-back when I came to trials proved a grace to me really and gave me a way into the club, so we’ll see where I can go from here.”
He admits playing at step four of the pyramid is light years away from life in the reserves with Woods in terms of physicality.
However, he is up for the challenge, as well as being aware of the things he needs to work on to make the grade in the game at the second time of asking.
Wallace added: “It has been tough. I’ve picked up a lot more bruises on my arms and legs than I’m used to, but I like a tackle and a little battle every now and then, so I’m trying to adapt and working hard on the training pitch to get my fitness levels up to where they were before my year out.
“If I was to do a report on my football right now I would say I’m a positive player going forward, but I need to work on my ball retention especially with regard to my decision making of when to keep it and when to pass.”
Wallace was part of the Reds side that threw away a one-goal lead to slump to a 3-1 home defeat to Gary Meakin’s Beaconsfield SYCOB. A Kurtney Brooks own goal had put the hosts in front before strikes from James McCluskey, Jon-Jo Bates and Aaron Morgan turned the tables.
With just one win in their last seven league outings, Uxbridge will be hoping for a change in fortunes when Dunstable Town visit on Saturday.