NO one is more surprised by Lewis O’Brien’s presence in the Huddersfield Town first team than the man himself.
The Terriers academy graduate has made 12 appearances for Town in the Championship this term, scoring one goal.
He spent the entirety of last campaign on loan at neighbours Bradford City, where he played 42 times in league and cup.
Although the 21-year-old gained some invaluable experience during a tough season for the Bantams – when they were relegated to League Two – he did not expect to be earning a regular starting place so soon at the John Smith’s Stadium.
“It has been going pretty well. To come in and play as many games as I have, I didn’t really expect it,” he said.
“I am taking every game in my stride. It is a good feeling.”
He continued: “I had belief in my quality and thought I would be able to break through, but not as a first-team regular and not as quickly as I have.
“The physicality, the quality and pace of the game is different. But I have tried to take everything in my stride. I am more of a box-to-box midfielder, but I have been working on my attacking side a lot. It is helping me to become the all-round midfielder that I want to be.”
O’Brien is starting to reap the benefits from his loan spell and feels that every young player needs experience at senior level if they want to make an impact in the Championship.
He added: “I have taken a lot away from last season. League One is a hard league and anyone can beat anyone. It is very physical and very direct. I got a lot of physical demands out of it and hopefully it has paid off.
“It was the best thing that happened to me, going out on loan.
“And I think everyone needs to do it., and with Huddersfield there are a lot of younger lads out on loan. Getting the experience, it doesn’t matter what level, everyone needs the experience of playing men’s football and they will come back better players.”
Huddersfield have spent the majority of the international break on a warm weather training camp in Dubai.
O’Brien feels it was time well spent as the Terriers aim for a return to winning ways at home to Birmingham City this afternoon.
Town’s unbeaten streak, which shot them out of the relegation places, was ended by high-flying Preston North End two weeks ago.
“We were in a good place even after the loss,” insisted O’Brien.
“For the break to come, it had come at a good time and a bad time.
“We were still in the flow of things, but to have the time off and work on the mistakes we made against Preston was good.”
He continued: “The way that Preston played it was a very frustrating game. There was a lot of second balls and a lot of fight.
“As a team we have shown a lot of fight and when a team shows as much fight as you do, you start to get a bit frustrated. It is gone now and we are looking to Birmingham.”
O’Brien added: “Every team is different in this league and they [Birmingham] are a good team.”