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Serra: “I knew that it was a tough challenge but I was definitely prepared”

At just 17 years old, Niall Serra has turned a few heads with some eye-catching performances – we spoke to the Glacis defender about life in the Premier Division, captaining Gibraltar U19’s and much more.  

Since coming onto the scene in late October, Niall Serra has made huge steps in his progression and certainly raised a few eyebrows along the way – we asked him how he has found life in the Premier Division, “After training with the premier squad, and being involved in matches and observing from the bench, I knew that it was a tough challenge but I was definitely prepared. After my debut, against Lions I felt a great amount of confidence and faith in myself to push even harder and earn my place. After 6 games now I’ve felt very comfortable and I’ve adapted quickly, the intensity is on another level compared to the intermediate league, however, I’ve found that I’ve asserted my position in the team.”

After losing Dani Guerrero to St Joseph’s – Glacis have struggled to find a good enough partner for Francisco Cano but over the last few games, Niall has shown great maturity and looks to be a real talent for the future. We asked him how he has found playing with the 27-year old, “I have developed great relationships and learned a lot from the players and coaching staff, they’ve surrounded me with nothing but positivity on the pitch. I’m constantly greeted with support on every action I take on and off the field. My footballing ability has undoubtedly increased due to all the experienced players’ remarks and I have only gratitude and appreciation towards them. Being partnered up with Fran Cano has given me the opportunity to witness and learn even further allowing me to play to the best of my ability.”

At 17 years old, Niall was appointed captain for Gibraltar’s recent U19 campaign – we asked him how it felt, “Being named captain of the Gibraltar U19s is such an incredible honour that I will cherish forever. Playing for my country is a feeling like no other, and captaining it is one that words cannot describe. I was given a huge responsibility and I was prepared to give my all for my team and my country and I’ll make sure I fight to keep my place in the next tournament to come. It was undeniably an experience like no other.”

Lastly, Niall gave us an insight into what he hopes to achieve in the future – “In terms of my footballing career, I aim to progress through the ranks of GFA and eventually break into the senior squad and represent my country at the highest level. I have also set a target of continuing to develop as a player and perhaps making my way to the highest rank of football in Gibraltar or perhaps elsewhere. The opportunity to show ones ability in the Gibraltar Premier Division is not very common for locals and the fact that I have been able to do so at such an early age, fighting for my spot has only triggered my desire to get to the top wherever that may be.”

Photo – Neil Wilson. 

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PREMIER DIVISION PLAYER AND MANAGER OF THE MONTH – NOVEMBER 2018

November saw a big gap due to the UEFA Nations League but congratulations to St Joseph’s duo Juanfri Peña Garcia & Raul Procopio on winning the FG Player & Manager of the month respectively. 

Player of the Month – Juanfri Peña Garcia (St Joseph’s) 

After a difficult October, Saints really upped their game in November and spearheading their success was striker Juanfri who scored three goals in three games and just edged his team-mate Boro who finished closely in second. Finishing off the top three is Phoenix defender Ezequiel Rojas Piner who has been instrumental in defence for his side. 

Manager of the Month – Raul Procopio (St Joseph’s)

Procopio can be very happy with his side, scoring nine goals and conceding none – it was very difficult to pick a winner due to the long break but we felt the Saints manager was the deserved winner. Phoenix’s Juan Maria Sanchez finished second with Lincoln’s Manolo Nunez Sanchez in third. 

Photos – C Correa Photography & Neil Wilson. 

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Premier Division: Team of the Week

Matchday 10 results 

  • FC Boca Juniors 1-1 St Joseph’s (Santos; Boro)
  • Gibraltar Phoenix 2-0 Lynx (Labrador, Trujillo) 
  • Glacis United 1-2 Lincoln Red Imps (Luan; Falu x2) 
  • Lions Gibraltar 1-0 Gibraltar United (Morente)
  • Mons Calpe 1-2 Europa (Carboni; Arana x2) 

GOALKEEPER: Juan Mateo (Lions)

DEFENDER: Carlos Trujillo (Gib Phoenix)

DEFENDER: Niall Serra (Glacis) 

DEFENDER: James Parkinson (Lions)

DEFENDER: Kailan ‘Ping’ Perez (Lions)

DEFENDER: Antonio ‘Nito’ Jimenez Ramos (Gib Phoenix)

MIDFIELDER: Mustapha Yahaya (Europa)

MIDFIELDER: Nathan Santos (Boca)

MIDFIELDER: Manuel Arana (Europa)

STRIKER: Salvador ‘Boro’ Delgado (St Joseph’s) 

STRIKER: Rafael ‘Falu’ Aranda (Lincoln)