Premiership learning and Burnley lessons for Portadown’s George Tipton
George Tipton’s first season at senior Irish League level has seen the teenage Portadown player absorb, adapt and apply.
Now in his third year on the Shamrock Park books, application and ability have taken Tipton from the under 20s into first-team football across the domestic Championship and Premiership competitions before spending time recently on trial at Premier League club Burnley.
For a player still honing his skillset at the heart of midfield, Tipton highlights the learning process central to his progress.
“I found this season tough at the start to be honest, just getting used to the pace and power of the Premiership,” said Tipton. “But it was the same the previous season when I had to adjust to the Championship.
“To stay in the team you have to learn as quickly as possible.
“That ability to adapt to different circumstances and different opponents is vital.
“I was a striker and wide player before coming to Portadown really so I’m still learning what it takes to play in the centre of midfield.
“But I’m loving it and even the dirty side of the game like tracking your runners, making tackles or heading it clear.
“Obviously all of that is a must anyway, otherwise you get caught out so quickly.
“Coming out of development football into first-team football, you are playing for something in every match.
“The stakes are raised when it comes down to three points on the line.
“This season has been our first back in the top flight but we don’t want to be in the bottom six as a club.
“We have been able to adapt over this season to different teams, grinding it out at times then, like in the 2-1 win over Carrick, being able to play in another way.
“It’s all part of our development as a group.
“You can see that determination to progress across the whole squad, with guys arguing in the changing room about conceding in injury-time last weekend despite coming away with the win.
“I thought we played really well against Carrick and a lot of that comes from confidence in ourselves.
“Our first goal by Lee Bonis was about taking into a game what we work on in training.
“Working on rotation and everything in training every week means it is then more natural when it comes to games.”
Tipton is entering the closing stages of a debut Premiership campaign but views his trial period alongside Bonis at Burnley as offering fresh incentive.
“Burnley was an eye-opener about what I need to do,” said Tipton. “If I’m serious about getting in a position for a move across the water and to make it that way in the game then it’s about learning from the experience.
“Even over those few days away you can take so much out it.
“The speed and intensity of everything, from training to games, was great to see.
“Our training is considered intense here at Portadown and you expect a difference obviously as it’s not full-time - but, again, it’s about drawing something from everything.
“Now it’s about taking all of those lessons back home and adding to my game here in the Irish League to help me improve.
“You need to absorb everything you can...you’ve got to learn from every experience.”
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