COMPARED TO the experience of development squad games at Leeds United, Alex Purver can quickly vouch for the fact that men’s football in the muck and nettles of the National League is a whole new ball game.
The young midfielder is getting the equivalent of some wool on his back in a footballing sense up the road in a half-season long loan at Guiseley and the early evidence suggests that the 20-year-old is wholly embracing the experience.
The Leeds lad may be part of a Lions team who are doing it tough at the bottom of the table and are still without a win in eight league matches this term.
But in terms of his own development, things are certainly looking up for Purver, named as man-of-the-match in Guiseley’s 0-0 weekend draw with Braintree, with the United academy product starting to make an impression at Nethermoor.
Purver, on loan at Guiseley until January 2, told the YEP: “For me, it is about getting that experience.
“I have played a lot of under-21s football in the past three seasons and while it is nice, it is completely different to playing proper men’s football in front of a crowd where you really need three points. Especially at this stage at Guiseley.
“The results really matter. In the ’21’s’, it can be really good in terms of getting minutes. But you do not really get that feeling of you needing to win every game, which is what I am feeling at Guiseley. It is going well, so far.
“There is a bit more of an edge to it and I am enjoying the competitive side of things.
“It is a good standard with a lot of full-time clubs and lots of players with experience who know the game. I can pick up the little things from playing against these people who know the game really well to improve my own game.”
Purver, who signed a one-year deal at Leeds in the summer, is clinging to the hope that a successful spell at Guiseley will be the precursor to first-team involvement down the line at Elland Road.
The midfielder is conscious that loan stints have served the likes of Charlie Taylor well in terms of their evolution and development at Leeds and also takes heart from the fact that Garry Monk genuinely seems to be a coach who is not afraid to blood youth if he deems them to be good enough and ready.
On his decision to move to Guiseley, which he believes will be beneficial for all parties, Purver added: “We just spoke at the end of pre-season and spoke about a loan option. He said it would be really good for me to go out and play some men’s football.
“I have seen him (Monk) speak in the press about his feeling that young lads need to know what men’s football really is and the only way to get that experience is to go out and do it.
“That is exactly what I am doing now and it will hopefully put me in good stead.
“You look at people like Charlie Taylor, who went to Fleetwood and did really well there. If you look at players throughout the league down from the Premier League; they all go and get that experience and can come back as a different player.
“I am hoping that experience and the things I pick up from Guiseley and playing in the Conference will really help me when I go back to Leeds for the rest of my career.
“I will see what things hold in January. But playing for Leeds is what I want to do.
“Hopefully this experience will bring a lot to my game and the knowledge to bring me on as a player to force my way into the Leeds team.
“The new manager has been really good in giving people a chance, whether it is in the cups or league.
“If I can get that opportunity, it would be brilliant.”