The FA Cup holds a special place for Bournemouth loanee Kyle Taylor as it is where he made his professional debut for his parent club, we catch up with him to speak about the competition, his route into the professional game and how it was in another cup competition that he got his first glimpse of FGR. Find out more about the forward in his in-depth interview...
Where did your football career begin?
My grandad on my dad’s side played semi-professional football when he was younger, but it was the first thing I did from the time I could walk.
I kicked the ball about and at the age of five I joined the local team near me called Lytchett Red Triangle in Dorset.
When I was about eight, I got picked up by Bournemouth and it has gone from there.
When I was seven, I was training with another team and my manager put my name forward and Bournemouth sent some scouts to watch me.
They weren’t in the Premier League at the time, but how was that, having a League club take an interest in you?
It was nice. When you are younger, you don’t realise the importance of it and at that age, you don’t know what is going to happen in the future.
It was very different back then, it was a League Two side and then as they have gone up through the divisions, I have come up through the academy and have timed it quite well.
I came into the youth team and signed my pro-contract when they were in the Premier League.
How’s the progression gone at the Academy and how important of a role has Eddie Howe played?
They are great with the young lads, I think the manager likes to get in young players and work with them on a one-to-one basis and integrate them into the team and show them the philosophy of the club. It’s been a great journey as a young lad.
It’s been 11 or 12 years now that I have been at the club, so it has been a big journey and there have been a few lads who have come through the academy, now playing in the first team and you can see how much they have developed under the manager.
When I was younger, Eddie Howe was the academy manager, so he basically looked after all the age groups and he managed to get promoted and the rest speaks for itself.
When we were youngsters, he would look after us and when we heard he got the manager’s job, it was a massive boost for us all.
It's been two years since you went on your first pre-season tour with Bournemouth, what was it like breaking into that first team environment and was that a real milestone for you?
It was great. It was the first time I had been away with them. I had had a few training sessions with them, but it was my first proper time away with the team and I was 18 at the time.
It was great for myself and my family to experience that and get the opportunity to showcase what I could do.
I got some minutes in some of the games, which topped off the trip.
It’s the FA Cup this weekend, you’re professional debut came in this competition against Wigan, the competition must have an important place for you.
I had been training with the first team, gaining my confidence and when you first go in, it is that excitement of being with the first team and the big players.
To find out I was going to be on the bench for that game was a great feeling.
I think we were 3-0 down at the time I came on, which took the pressure off me a little bit, there was nothing to lose. Eddie turned round to me and asked, ‘are you ready?’ I knew I was.
It was an amazing feeling on a personal note.
Growing up, when Bournemouth were in League Two, the cup was a great opportunity for the lower league teams to come up against the best teams in England.
It was massive as a young lad watching it and then to have the opportunity to make my debut in the cup and then play the following year in the same competition, it has been a great opportunity for me.
Was it then always the plan to get yourself out on loan last summer and get some experience under your belt?
Exactly, it was in my mind heading into the summer that if I wasn’t going to be a part of the first team this season, I would quite like to get out and gain some experience.
I had heard about Forest Green and the way they play football and it sounded like the perfect fit for me.
You signed shortly after we played Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup, were you impressed by what you saw at the Vitality Stadium?
I think it was a day or two before that game, I got a call from my agent saying that the interest was there and I didn’t hesitate too much because I had seen the work that Forest Green do and I thought it was totally unique.
I was watching the game and it was a bit of a weird feeling, watching my team and the side that I was going on loan to but it was a good indication of what was to come and I thought they fared well in that game.
I thought all the lads did themselves justice, especially away from home, it was never going to be easy but I am sure it was a great experience and something we want to experience again in the FA Cup, if we can.
When you first joined, you were thrown straight in, what was that like for you?
It was great. I had had a little taste of men’s football, but it was very different when I came to League Two, I didn’t know what to expect.
It was tough to begin with because I had missed pre-season through injury and then I came straight to Forest Green with no minutes under the belt.
To go straight into the first game was a great experience, which I was grateful for and then it was about gaining momentum and getting more fitness from the games.
Unfortunately, with the red card and a bit of an illness, it has been difficult to get back into the team with the way they have been playing at the moment.
It is just about being patient and supporting the boys and helping wherever I can.
How much of a learning experience is that for you, dealing with being part of a squad and being in this situation at a different club?
You’ve just got to look at yourself and speak to the manager to see what targets you need to be hitting.
It is difficult when the team is playing so well, so it is looking at the bigger picture and how I can improve.
From playing a lot of games to being out of the team is difficult for any footballer in world football, it is about biding your time, being patient and being consistent in training every day.
To come to Forest Green and be part of a team that is doing so well, we want to be promoted and it is a great project to be a part of.