I came to Blackpool for experiences like this, says Everton loanee Ellis Simms
Ellis Simms’ first experience of playing in front of supporters in professional football couldn’t have gone much better.
The striker bagged a magnificent brace in Blackpool’s imperious 3-0 play-off semi-final first leg win at Oxford United on Tuesday.
It took Simms’ tally to five goals in three games and 10 in all for the Seasiders. That’s some achievement for the 20-year-old, who only arrived on loan in late January.
Simms, who is enjoying his first spell away from Everton will be able to reflect on this occasion for years to come and said: “I just had to embrace it really.
“It was a great experience. I just had to stay focused because I didn’t want to let the fans get the better of me. I just focused on my own game and I think I managed to do that well.
“This is why I’ve come on loan – to get the experience of playing men’s football and playing in front of crowds. I’m happy and I think I’ve improved day by day since I’ve been here.
“There are different types of obstacles, like playing in front of fans and different styles of football, so I’m learning and that is the main thing. I’m pleased to be in double figures but I’m just happy to be scoring to help the team out.”
Simms deservedly picked up Sky Sports’ man of the match award at the Kassam Stadium but knows the job is only half done.
Neil Critchley’s side return to Bloomfield Road for the decisive second leg tomorrow, when around 4,000 Seasiders will attend the 7.45pm rematch.
Simms added: “I’m delighted to get man of the match but more importantly we got the win.
“We knew it was going to be difficult away from home but to win 3-0 gives us a massive advantage going into the second leg.
“We need to make sure we know the tie is not finished. We need to make sure we’re right at it and kill the game off early on.
“Everyone is buzzing for the second leg now because we’re looking forward to having the fans back in.
“Hopefully we can replicate the performance we showed on Tuesday night.
“We stuck to the gameplan and everyone performed well. Obviously the scoreline reflected that.”
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