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Tommy Conway: August’s Young Player of the Month on creative celebrations, generational gaps, and derby day

The Bristol City striker has been awarded the August accolade!

12 September 2022

A pre-teenage Tommy Conway and three of his teammates wheeled away in excitement ready to recreate the famous dance scene from The Inbetweeners Movie, much to the Bristol City starlet’s embarrassment now.

During a trip abroad, the youngster found the back of the net against Vejle Boldklub, one of the most successful Clubs in Danish history, and kept a promise to his coaches that he would mark his strike with the sequence from the popular film.

Since then, the striker, who joined the Robins Academy set-up aged just seven, has risen through the ranks and, to top off his flying start to the 2022/23 campaign, has now been named the EFL’s Young Player of the Month for August.

But he’s been challenged with coming up with a better goal celebration if he’s going to become a regular on the scoresheet.

“We were in Denmark and the boys who I was sharing with ended up having the messiest room, so we had to do a forfeit,” he recalled. “We did a dance on the night after dinner, The Inbetweeners one, so the coaches said, ‘why don’t you do it if you score?’ I said, ‘yeah, go on then.’ I scored and we all ran into the camera and did it. Looking back now, I’m like, ‘what was I thinking?’ I was young and having fun, so I let myself not.”

He added: “The lads are getting on to me now. They’re saying, ‘you’re scoring quite a few now so you actually need to come up with a celebration.’ I think there’s going to be one coming soon but I just don’t know what it’s going to be yet. It’s one to look out for.”

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The 20-year-old becomes the first Robins player since England international Tammy Abraham in September 2016 to pick up the accolade. That campaign, the former Chelsea loanee notched 23 league goals in 41 appearances during a season-long stint with the Club.

And Conway is hoping he can live up to the standards set by those before him, including the likes of Abraham.

“As a player, it’s something you want to be recognised for,” he said. “It’s nice to get these awards. For me, on a personal note, it’s been good. As a team, we’ve come a long way in August, and I’d say it’s the team as a whole that have helped me to get this award.

“Tammy Abraham has gone on to do unbelievable things. If I can do half the things he’s done, I’d class that as successful. I’m just happy to pick up this award and hopefully I can build on this for the rest of the season.”

As it stands, the forward is among the leading marksmen in the Sky Bet Championship, with four league goals to his name and counting.

However, it’s still a lot for Conway, who scored his first goal at Ashton Gate in front of a crowd of over 17,000 against Luton Town after playing in the sixth-tier last year in a non-league loan spell, to take in.

“I’ve got my friends sending me screenshots of the top goal-scorers In the Championship and circling my name,” he laughed. “When I’m seeing my name up there, it doesn’t seem real. I’m equally buzzing to be up there, but I want to be up there for the whole season if I can. I can’t really get my head around it. It’ll sink in one day, I reckon.”

If there’s one particular strike that stands out to him from this season, Conway’s opening goal in a 2-0 win over Cardiff City in the Severnside derby will take some beating, according to the man himself, who celebrated his birthday at the beginning of last month.

“I don’t normally score headers, but I managed to get my head on it,” he explained. “It felt like a different sound in the stadium with the ground because it was a big game for them and a big game for us. That, for me, was my favourite so far.”

In strike partner Nahki Wells, he has become one half of a trusted duo up front for the Robins. It was even highlighted that when Wells scored his first EFL goal, Conway was just turning nine years old.

“Even when you’re in and around the training ground, some of the older lads like Nahki [Wells] and Kingy [Andy King] are like, ‘you were born in 2002.’ A song would come on and they’d say, ‘you weren’t even born when this song came out.’

“They made their debuts when I was in primary school. They can’t quite believe it, but me and Nahki are playing up front together and we enjoy each other.”

Rooming with Under-19s European Champion Alex Scott has helped Conway to come on leaps and bounds.

The pair share an apartment in which they can embrace their competitive sides off the field with a golf course that is situated around the rooms of their shared digs, and the two have bonded during their time together.

“To have someone like a brother who you can speak to about anything and do things with instead of going home and being on your own, that’s helped off the pitch,” he continued. “It’s just fun. It’s nice to have someone like that to live with. I prefer that at my age because I had to leave home when I was 15 so I’m away from my family.”

Last week, he was summoned by Scot Gemmill to represent Scotland Under-21s for their upcoming friendlies – something which will mark a new experience for Conway.

“I’m really proud for me and my family,” he said. “My grandad is Scottish, so he’d be really proud of me. I’m really looking forward to going away with Scotland and seeing what it’s like. I’ve never been called up for any international team before.”

Bristol City sit in fourth in the standings, unbeaten in six and riding the wave of back-to-back victories. Given his start to the campaign, Conway has repaid boss Nigel Pearson’s faith and is likely to be pivotal to any promotion push the Robins muster up after inking a new three-year deal over the summer.

He said: “This season, I’ve played a part in every game we’ve played so far. If someone had told me at the beginning of the season that I’d get to the start of September with those figures, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.

“I was honest with myself and I knew that I probably wouldn’t be in the starting 11, so that was my aim at the start of the year, just to get in the team as quick as possible. That’s helped me to stay grounded, knowing that I’ve got work hard everything that I get.

“I’m just trying to take it day by day to get better and better. I’d say it’s quite surreal how everything’s happened like that in the space of a year or two. We’ll have a good push. It’s exciting to be at Bristol City at this stage.”

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