Wealdstone export Graeme Montgomery rarely looked out of breath during his times in a blue shirt, yet all that has changed since launching his professional career last month, writes Tim Edwards.
Nobody could have accused the tall, slender midfielder from looking unfit but since joining League
Two side Dagenham & Red-bridge in the new year, Montgomery has experienced something of a rude awakening.
The skillful player, known affectionately by Stones fans as Monty said: "The training has been tough as you are doing it every day and sometimes you go in aching from the day before. I've had to build my fitness levels right up as match fitness is the key.
"But I am really enjoying it here and the lads here have been great in helping me settle in."
The 20-year-old signed a twoand-a-half year deal with the Essex club having enjoyed trials earlier in the season with Watford and Yeovil Town.
First team apperances for the Daggers have been scarce so far but he is hoping the training sessions will pay dividends soon enough.
He added: "I'm getting used to it here. It has taken a while to sink in but I am fortunate to be doing what I love every day. It's everything I thought it would be and more.
"The speed of the game at this level is a lot quicker, but that is something I will grow accustomed to. Every new player that comes in wants to impress the manager and I am no different."
And Monty hopes he has swapped one play-off chasing side for another with the Stones close to the mix.
He certainly saw enough in their performance over Harrow Borough to suggest they can make the play-offs.
The midfielder commented: "I was due to play but had a little injury, which was disappointing as it was Harrow on Boxing Day. "But it was a fantastic result and a great way for me to leave the club."