Twenty-three is no age for a goalkeeper but Tottenham Hotspur prospect David Button is, by his own admission, a journeyman. He knows more about loans than even most Portsmouth fans, with 13 spells at 11 different clubs since turning professional in 2007. He’s played over 150 first-team games, but is yet to start for Spurs. Button is taking the latest step on the ladder at Barnsley, where Championship correspondent James McMath caught up with him for Just Football.
James McMath: You’ve spent a lot of your career so far out on loan from Tottenham. Is that frustrating for you?
David Button: I know I’m at a big club, I’m learning and improving. I’ve known myself over the last couple of years that I haven’t been ready to play in the Tottenham first team, but I feel I’m gradually getting there.
Hopefully, in the next year or so, I’ll start to push on and I’ll have all this experience from my loan spells that will help me further in my career.
I stay in touch with Spurs all the time. After every game, there’s contact with the coaches and the goalie coach, Tony Parks. They monitor my progress to see how things are going.
JMcM: Tottenham goalkeepers Brad Friedel, 40, and Carlo Cudicini, 38, are nearing the end of their careers, while Heurelho Gomes appears to be out of favour. Does that give you cause for optimism about your chances at White Hart Lane?
DB: I’m a bit of a journeyman for my age, but that’s the only way I’m going to get games. That’s the challenge I have to face.
Brad and Carlo have next year on their contract, but they are getting older so there will be an opportunity there for somebody in the next year or so.
Hopefully, that will be me, but I have to see how the next year goes, by going out on loan and continuing to impress.
I’ve got another year on my contract so it’s a big summer for me. With a year left, I need to make some decisions as to what I’m going to do.
While I’m playing, I’m not going to think about that, but when it comes to the summer I’ll sit down with Spurs and see where they want me to go.
If they still have plans for me, I’ll be delighted to stay, but if not, I’ll have to look elsewhere.
JMcM: Would Barnsley be an option for you, longer-term?
DB: It’s just short-term, because there’s three good goalkeepers here already. Until that situation changes, I can’t see the manager wanting me to stay.
From what I’ve seen so far, I’ve really enjoyed it and, if it came up, I would definitely have to consider it.
JMcM: What are your living arrangements when you’re out on loan and do you know all your team-mates’ names now?
DB: The short-term loans, it’s hotels and things like that, but if it’s a season-long loan, they sort you out with accommodation. I’m used to the hotel lifestyle now. I’ve just signed up for a loyalty card so I can get a free few nights in the summer!
I know everyone’s names now. The lads have been great. They’ve welcomed me really well.
I feel like I’m getting to know them. The names aren’t the problem it’s the nicknames that are the hardest thing.
The games are the best opportunity to get to know everyone’s names, because you’re playing with them.
JMcM: Your home debut for Barnsley came in a 1-0 win over Peterborough. Do you think the Reds are safe now?
DB: It was a massive three points for us because it stops the little run of bad games.
Hopefully, it’ll give the players a bit of a confidence boost and we should be OK between now and the end of the season.
I’ve loved it. It’s great for me to come and play games straight away. I’m pleased to be able to carry on getting more experience and improving as a player.
JMcM: You know Barnsley manager Keith Hill and his staff from a previous loan spell with Rochdale, what are they like to work with?
DB: I’ve worked with all the staff here before. They’re probably the best I’ve worked with. Keith Hill is great. He knows how to man-manage the players. He’s a great motivator. He loves football and can talk tactics all day long.
I’m not lying when I say he’s one of the best managers I’ve worked under. I worked with him at Rochdale, when I was 18 or 19. It was my first loan move.
He took me there when they were in League Two for a month, so when the call came this time, there was no hesitation.
I was young, it was my first loan, so it was a massive eye-opener. It’s all part of the experience for a young player.
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