ALEX Pritchard feels he has matured as a footballer during his year at Swindon Town, as he learns to control his fiery temperament on the pitch.
The midfielder, named by the Football League as the second best player in League One this term, has missed six matches through suspension over the course of the campaign, including three as a result of his rash sending-off at Bristol City last month. The 20-year-old believes his first full season in senior football has taught him how to focus his mind on winning games for Town rather than let his temper get the better of him.
The Tottenham loanee came off the bench at Carlisle United on Saturday following his most recent ban and cited his non-reaction to a clattering challenge from Pascal Chimbonda as evidence that he is getting to grips with life in the pro ranks.
He told the Advertiser: “It was frustrating (to be suspended). I missed three matches, played a game during the week and then came back. Pascal absolutely wrote me off in the middle of the park and I didn’t react. I just got on with it.
“Just don’t react - that’s what they want and if I don’t give it to them they won’t be happy.
“Take the red card out - that was stupid from me. Other than that, (I’ve learnt) there’s no point to the backchat and stuff like that. The referee isn’t going to change his decision so just get on with the game and just put the ball in the back of the net.”
When asked if he had matured this season, Pritchard said: “I think so. I just get caught up in the moment in games and get frustrated. I’ll learn from it.”
Of his dismissal at Ashton Gate, he said: “It was stupid from me and I reacted but I’ll learn from it, I’m only 20. It was stupid and I shouldn’t have done it, I got my reward. It was great from the boys down there to get a point.
“I think I had four or five challenges on me but it was just stupid of me to react.”