Family’s impact driving youngster on.
Sunderland defender Liam Marrs says he finds the motivation to progress from the efforts his family have put in to help make him a professional footballer.
Marrs, who is yet to make a first-team appearance but has been an unused sub on four occasions, told safc.com that his family’s efforts in helping him in terms of transport, finance and support, give him the drive to do well.
“I can’t thank my mam and dad enough for what they’ve done for me – if it wasn’t for them and my granddad I wouldn’t be here,” the 20-year-old said.
“They’ve took time off work to drive me to Sunderland and take me to games up and down the country.
“They always tell me I’ve got to keep working hard. Hopefully I can pay them back - it’s one of the biggest motivations I have got.
“First and foremost I do it for myself because that’s what I’ve always wanted to do – as a kid I told people I wanted to be a footballer, they laughed and said it was a one in a million chance,” he continued.
“I worked hard to get my chance to come to Sunderland but if it wasn’t for my family I wouldn’t be here.”
Marrs signed a professional deal with the Black Cats in 2011 and has since gone on to impress the coaches at the Academy of Light.
And the Cramlington-born youngster says the difference between his times as a youth-team player to his current status as a professional, is huge.
“It’s a big difference coming in full-time because the club are paying you to come in and do a job, it’s your job, and you have to perform,” Marrs added.
“I think I’ve progressed again, obviously I played a few times last season for the reserves and I was getting used to that.
“This season I’ve got another 20-odd games or so under my belt, it’s all good experience in the under-21s and now I want to push on even further.
“Obviously the coaches have always helped me progress over the years and they’ve made me a better player teaching me things that will work out in games.
“It’s obviously worked out for me and I’d like to think that, over the course of the season, I’ve done well.”
Marrs, who played 20 times for the development squad this campaign, was also quick to add that he doesn’t take his opportunity at the Academy of Light for granted – stating that he will never give anything less than 100%.
“I’ve worked hard at it because you’ve got to train the way you play; if you don’t train well – you won’t play well,” Marrs explained.
“I was always told to give 100%, give everything you can, give it all in training, and do everything you can - don’t hold anything back.
“I don’t want to think ‘What if?’ – if I’ve given my everything then I’ll be satisfied with myself.
“If you ever think to yourself ‘I could’ve done more’ then it would be horrible because you’ll never get this chance again,” he continued. “You’ll never get the chance to go back. If you do, you’re very, very lucky.
“Once you know you’re doing well then you’ve got to keep pushing – you can keep going higher and higher - that’s the only way you are going to make it at the top because once you start slacking you get found out.”
Marrs has taken a week or so away from the game before returning to the gym to get himself in the best shape possible ahead of the new campaign.
“I’ll give myself a week or so off to go and chill out and shut everything down but after that I’ll work on leg weights, power work, and then two weeks before I come back I’ll start my running,” he told safc.com
“You want to come back and make an impression, if people see you’re fit when you come back and you’re flying then that’s good - you can’t rest on your laurels, you have to show that motivation.”