ALDERSHOT Town midfielder Jermaine Anderson believes the setbacks he has experienced have made him stronger as he bids to make a Football League return.
The 24-year-old made his senior debut in the Championship for Peterborough United aged just 16 and represented England at U18 and U20 level and If you’re thinking of having a bet on England this summer make sure you check out this Euro 2020 guide.
But following his release from Bradford City last summer, he was without a club until the Shots offered him a short-term deal in December before quickly tying him down for the remainder of the season.
Anderson suffered two ACL knee injuries at Peterborough which stalled his progress, playing 97 times for the club over six campaigns in League One.
Loan spells at Doncaster and Bradford helped to put him back on track, but it’s at Aldershot, under boss Danny Searle, where he is really rediscovering his form.
“I’ve been playing a lot of games and scored a few goals,” Anderson told The NLP having introduced himself to Shots fans with a two-goal display over local rivals Woking on Boxing Day. “It’s a well-run club which feels like a family. The manager has a clear idea of what he wants and looks out for us. His door is always open.
“Last summer was strange for a lot of players with clubs cutting budgets and squad because of the pandemic.
“It wasn’t easy, as a footballer you’ve got to be resilient and keep working. I was doing stuff on my own locally, trying to stay fit but there’s only so much you can do just you and a ball.”
Anderson, though, in those lonely months, was always determined to continue his football career. He has dealt with disappointment before when he was released by Arsenal at 16 and knows there is always a chance to bounce back.
“It’s good to look back on and see that you pulled yourself through it,” he said. “I signed for Peterborough and played a lot of games there. That was my first experience of first team football at a young age. It was a mad transition.
“The manager at the time, Darren Ferguson, managed me well. I was thrown in and playing with men is completely different. There’s no time for passengers, you have to fit in or you get left behind.
“I learnt pretty quickly when I was younger it’s not a game anymore, you’re playing with people who have families and it’s their career. These points on a Saturday and Tuesday really matter.”
Peterborough owner Darragh MacAnthony described Anderson as a ‘Rolls Royce’ player and revealed how the club turned down a £2 million bid for him as they knew he was worth more.
Then those long-term knee injuries hit and it’s been a tough road back yet Anderson is on the right path now.
“You feel like your world has come down but when you get to the end of it you’ve built up a resilience,” he added.
“It’s developed my mental toughness. The main aim is to get back into the League. I’ve been through a lot of highs and lows.
“You can’t change the past, you have to think about the future and what’s happening now to help yourself get better.”