Femi Orenuga: Everton fans must be patient with Barkley; Loans can be good for young players; Prince Ekong's retirement

Former Everton midfielder Femi Orenuga hopes fans are patient with Ross Barkley, discusses the FA Youth Cup and the bonus of young players moving out on-loan.
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Former Everton midfielder Femi Orenuga hopes fans are patient with Ross Barkley, discusses the FA Youth Cup and the bonus of young players moving out on-loan.

I know it's a big time for any young player connected to a Premier League club. It's FA Youth Cup week, with the Fourth Round being played.

At Everton, it was always a big occasion for the Academy lads as the gaffer would tend to show his face and run his eye over us.

These games are always a step up in intensity as everyone wants to shine in front of the first team manager. We certainly took the FA Youth Cup seriously at Everton. I see the lads have Port Vale next week, so I wish them the best.

Of course, with the winter transfer window wide open, it's not just the FA Youth Cup and big U21 games that's on the minds of young Premier League players. There's also the chance of you getting a loan move away.

You're really thrown in at the deep end when going out on-loan.

But, yes it is good because you get great experience on and off the pitch. It's different to the usual reserves action because if the team is not playing well it can get the manager sacked! So not only are you playing for points, you're also playing for the fans and manager.

I had a spell with Notts County while at Everton and the target was to catch the eye of the gaffer.

The aim is to always try and do well because if you do, then the manager at your parent club will have no choice but to try you in some games. It's a great chance for any young player to really show the gaffer what you can do.

Speaking of loans, my former teammate Ross Barkley has just left Everton for a decent move to Leeds United.

Ross is a good player with so much ability. I think when he learns one or two more things about his game he will be a top player. Everton fans must be patient with him.

For myself here at AFC United, life in Stockholm is good - though also cold!

Stockholm is a good city but the weather here is just too cold - I've never experienced such cold weather in my life!

London is my home town, so as much as I'm making a life over here for myself, there will be nowhere like London for me.

We had a little shock here at AFC United last week - though personally I was expecting it. Prince Ekong called us together at training and announced his retirement to the lads. Prince will be well known to Nigerian fans, having played for the Super Eagles during his career.

He is a very nice man on and off the pitch and he told me that he was going to retire weeks before he announced it.

He is a pastor in a church here in Sweden, which I also attend, so the reason for him to step down was an understandable one and I wish him all the best for the future.

On the training pitch, there's been a lot fitness work, but its good for us as a team.

The games will start to come fast in February with a busy schedule organised for that month, but I'm looking forward to it.

Femi Orenuga was speaking to Ifeanyi Abanum of
AllNigeriasoccer.com on behalf of tribalfootball.com. Visit AllNigeriasoccer.com for all your latest
Nigerian football news.

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