My time at Perth Glory - James Fletcher

Fletcher Perth
Fletcher was one of five FFA Centre of Excellence player to train with the A-League side.

FFA Centre of Excellence defender James Fletcher says he is confident he is capable of performing at the next level after a three-week camp with Perth Glory.

The 15-year-old was one of five scholarship holders hosted by the Western Australian club while the FFA Centre of Excellence coaching staff were on national duties with the Joeys at the AFF U-15 Youth Championships.

Fletcher was joined by teammates Jai Seldon, Bryce Bafford, Jacob Italiano and Cameron O'Doherty at the A League side.

The defender said he was initially anxious training alongside A-League stars Adam Taggart, Rostyn Griffiths and Diego Castro.

"I was a bit nervous before I met all the players. Kenny Lowe just said to walk out with a ‘bit of swagger’ because they wont respect you if you go into your shell," Fletcher said.

"We all had had a really solid three weeks; none of us looked out of place at all.

"The intensity was very high; it was very similar to the Centre of Excellence. Physically it was more intense because the boys were so much bigger but technically there wasn’t much of a change.

"Now that I’ve been there and experienced it I know I’m capable of performing at the next level."

While Seldon and Bafford had their own rehabilitation programs, Fletcher, Italiano and O'Doherty all played in Perth Glory's 3-1 defeats to Inglewood United.

Despite playing out of position Fletcher descibed the game as a 'great experience'.

"I played on the wing instead of as a full-back," Fletcher said.

"They play a bit differently with a 4-4-2 formation, which was a bit of a challenge for me, but I had an amazing time.

"Being able to play my style of football, facing forward and dribbling a little bit, and seeing it was successful in a professional team was confidence boosting."

Although the FFA Centre of Excellence players only played in the second half, all three boys impressed with Italiano scoring Perth's lone goal of the game in the last minute.

"Jacob [Italiano] did really well; they were very impressed with him. So did Cameron [O’Doherty]," Fletcher said.

"The whole experience is unreal. Being able to test myself against and alongside an A-League team was amazing.”