Pic: Andy Nunn
IF it’s not enough to be adored by your fans at club level, now Jake Gallagher has endeared himself enough to earn the ultimate accolade for England too!
The tough-tackling midfielder is loved on the terraces at Aldershot Town after helping the club reach the National League play-offs, eventually losing out to Tranmere Rovers in the semi-final.
But his mantelpiece was still left housing a sparkling new occupant in the shape of a National Game Awards decanter after being named The FA England C Player of the Year, as selected by Three Lions manager Paul Fairclough.
Gallagher has now clocked nine caps for his country and this year played an integral part in Fairclough’s men reaching the International Challenge Trophy final against Slovakia.
And after receiving the award from his manager at the NGA Awards ceremony at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, the 24-year-old described it as a “great honour” to wear the Three Lions on his shirt.
“To be presented with the England C award by Paul Fairclough is fantastic, it’s a great honour to be at Stamford Bridge for what was a brilliant afternoon,” the Bromley-born midfielder said.
“As soon as you play that first game, right through to the last, it’s a real honour. Hopefully there is one more game to come if I get selected, but I’ve had nine games dating back to when I was first involved against Jordan.
“Back then it was 11 completely different players to what we have now to the last one I played, and a lot of them have moved on to Football League clubs or higher honours looking to get there, so it shows the standard of football and how great it is for Non-League players wearing the Three Lions.
“You put yourself on a level with people you play against, you play against full under-21 internationals and this season I came up against someone who played 90 times for Galatasaray. He gave me the runaround, but you have to play against these players to get to where you want to be.
“Some of those guys now play Football League, Championship or even Premier League football. Sometimes you doubt yourself but there are times you think you are good enough.”
Indeed, the Football League is where Gallagher has set his sights at club level and after enjoying a groundbreaking season with Aldershot, he believes it is achievable.
“The season has been fantastic for Aldershot, the gaffer [Gary Waddock] has come in and done remarkably well, it’s like we’ve given the fans something to cheer about again because the last four or five seasons haven’t been great.
“Reaching the play-offs was a massive achievement, it was a disappointment once we got there, but hopefully we can push on from that and be stronger next year.”