NATHAN ECCLESTON couldn’t be happier with his move to Huddersfield.
The 19-year-old striker who made an instant impact for Town at Yeovil sees his long-term future very much at Liverpool, where he has a contract through to 2013.
But the Mancunian marksman whose Town debut goal sealed the 1-0 League I win at Huish Park knows he has a great opportunity at the Galpharm to kick-start his career.
Originally signed for a month, the England Under 19 player’s loan was this week extended to the end of the season, and he is desperate to further Town’s promotion push by adding to his first senior goal.
It came in only his third senior appearance, after the teenager, who was named in Liverpool’s 28-man Champions League squad at the start of the season, came off the bench for Rafa Benitez’s side in their 2-1 Carling Cup fourth-round defeat at Arsenal and 3-1 Premier League loss at Fulham in October.
Those first-team appearances for the Reds sit alongside a record of regular reserve outings after Eccleston stepped up from the academy to join the first-team squad full-time.
He netted twice on his debut for the second team – coached by former Tranmere player John McMahon – in their 3-2 defeat by Blackburn.
And there have been two more to help Liverpool rise to the top of the FA Premier Reserve League North, as well as strikes in open play and a penalty shoot-out as Manchester United were overcome in the Lancashire Senior Cup.
The outcome was a new three-and-a-half year deal signed on January 11, when Liverpool boss Benitez praised the frontman, and also suggested he’d benefit from a spell out on loan.
“Nathan has played for the first team and is doing well in the reserves,” said the Spaniard. “He has quality and talent, and if he works hard, he can be a player.”
Eccleston, born in the Newton Heath suburb of Manchester and on the books of Bury until Liverpool signed him as a 15-year-old, takes up the story:
“When we were talking about the contract, the manager told me that while he was pleased with my progress, if I wanted to get close to the first team squad on a more regular basis, I needed to go out on loan and play some good-level competitive football.
“I had a few different options, but I chose Huddersfield after talking things through with the staff at Liverpool, my family, my agent and Martin Kelly.
“Martin had a loan spell here last season and told me all about the team spirit, the expertise among the management and the club’s ambition.
“I know Huddersfield a little bit as a town, because my aunty has a hairdressers shop here and I’ve been over to the carnival a couple of times.
“And while I’m here I’ll be living back in Manchester around people who are good for me.”
Town’s forthcoming fixture list will give Eccleston the chance to reacquaint himself with Tranmere’s Prenton Park, where Liverpool play their reserve games and where Town visit on Tuesday, February 23, and Gary Ablett, the ex-Liverpool academy boss who is now manager of Stockport, Town’s hosts on Saturday, April 24.
Before that, Eccleston is looking forward to playing at the Galpharm, with Carlisle in town this afternoon.
“I really like the stadium, I got a great welcome from our travelling fans down at Yeovil, and I’m just hoping to have the chance to play in front of all our supporters against Carlisle,” he added.
“I know I have a great chance to further my career while I’m here, and I’ve already had some great help and advice from the manager and his coaching staff and the rest of the players.
“I’ll be doing everything I can to repay them.”