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Virtual National Game Awards 2019-20: Buildbase Isthmian League Step 4 Player of the Year – Lucas Rodrigues

Lucas Rodrigues

TREBLE TOPS: Whitehawk’s Lucas Rodrigues scored a 23-minute hat-trick at Three Bridges earlier this season. Picture: Andy Schofield

By David Richardson

Lucas Rodrigues already has over 100 Non-League appearances to his name – now he can add the Buildbase Isthmian League Step 4 Player of the Year award.

The 21-year-old is Whitehawk’s longest-serving player and fan favourite at the Enclosed Ground where he’s been a first-team regular since 2017.

Rodrigues progressed through the club’s youth teams and under manager Jude Macdonald has developed into one of the most talented forward players at the level.

His 13 goals and 14 assists this season – including a 23-minute hat-trick at Three Bridges – helped the Hawks into a play-off position before football was brought to a halt – and he’s making good progress to his ultimate goal.

“I want to play one professional game whether that’s League One or League Two,” he told The NLP. “I want to play as high as a can and see where it goes.

“The first season I started playing at Whitehawk it was a bit of a shock. I was a bit naive in terms of experience against centre-backs or full-backs.

“Now I’ve learnt the game so much, and I still have more to learn, but the experience I’ve got from the past two years and what to do in situations has been so much better. I think I’ve definitely matured and learnt the dark arts of the game.”

Rodrigues made his Whitehawk debut at 17 and has gone on to captain the team on occasions.

Born in Brazil, he came to England with his mum when he was seven and has enjoyed playing football ever since.

“The first time I played football on grass was when I was nine,” he added, awaiting his final mark for his PE degree at the University of Brighton. “In Brazil you play futsal on courts.

“I’ve really loved playing at Whitehawk, I haven’t got a bad word to say about the club. The fans are brilliant. Personally, it’s nice to see the hard work has paid off.”

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Images courtesy of The Non-League Paper

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