Having been the latest addition to the Clarets family, Callum Jones spoke to chelmsfordcityfc.com.
The 21-year-old striker is formerly of Sky Bet League Two side Colchester United, where he spent 11 years of his life in their academy system.
His long stay with the U’s was brought to an end last year and since his departure, there had been other clubs circling for his services.
Despite receiving interest from other sides prior to his move to Chelmsford, though, his eyes were firmly fixed on the EMG Inspire Stadium.
Callum explained: “Robbie being a striker and playing for someone who is an attacker that understands my role made me really want to sign for him.
“I didn’t want to join a team that was an old, ageing team. I think this one’s got players who can stick around for a few years. You know, it’s not going to be one that people leave after each year.
“Also, the fact that they trusted me. They knew I previously had an injury, and some places could have looked at me and said, ‘No, we don’t want to take that risk.’
“I think them having the trust made me really feel like I wanted to be here. I didn’t want to go anywhere else, I didn’t want to look anywhere else, I just wanted to go straight for Chelmsford.”
Callum began his involvement in football as a six-year-old, playing for a Sunday League team in Tiptree before joining a Colchester United ACP team a year later.
Two years on from then and the striker joined the League Two side’s proper academy as a nine-year-old and an 11-year spell with the U’s began.
During his time there, Jones enjoyed many highlights, one of which being an impressive run in the 2017/18 FA Youth Cup.
Callum recounted: “I think getting a scholarship straight after school for two years, that was always the biggest aim because you’re signing for two years and you’re full-time playing football.
“Signing the first professional contract was also quite important but it didn’t quite go to plan because I got injured and missed out on a lot of that.
“Playing-wise, the highlight was probably the FA Youth Cup, because I think on that run we matched the furthest Colchester had ever gone in the competition before; so that was quite a good moment.
“It all started off a bit badly really, I think we were 3-0 down after 15 minutes in the First Round and then we managed to win 5-4 in the end.
“I managed to score quite a few goals on the run, up until Arsenal. We went one-nil down and I scored the penalty to get us to 1-1 and we were in the game for the first 60 minutes. Then, it kind of just fell apart at the end but we had quite a good run at it.”
While with Colchester, Jones also crossed paths with Clarets regulars from last season in Callum Harrison and Cameron James.
“I’ve been with Cam and Cal, they’re obviously a couple of years older than me, so when I played up a few years, they’ve always been there. So, I’ve always trained with them and played matches with them.
“With Cam, I’ve probably known him longer than Callum because when we went on our first football tour with Colchester, it was under-11s or 12s, we went to Italy and I used to be in the same team as Cam.
“I’ve actually still got pictures in my room of me and Cam from years ago!
“It’s a massive thing really because knowing them, it does help a lot. I spoke to them before I signed and even when I signed, I’ve spoken to them both.
“They know what I’m about, they know what I can do, I know what they can do, so it does help massively.”
While the frontman is now fully recovered from the injury which he picked up while at Colchester, it led to the most difficult period of the 21-year-old’s career to date.
“Leaving Colchester was probably the hardest period I’ve had, to be honest,” Callum said.
“I’d just signed a new deal during the summer going into the next season and three days into pre-season, I picked up an injury. Something happened, I heard a noise as I went over on my ankle and I knew something was wrong.
“I had rehab for like six weeks, it was all good and then it happened again. I had to have it all scanned and we saw that there was a rupture.
“The ligament that I ruptured, you can play on without and I did go on and play but eventually it got too bad and it went over again; it got to a point where it needed properly repairing.
“I had the surgery last February, so it’s been over a year now since I had that. It’s been a long 18 months but the main thing is that I wanted to get it sorted so that now I’ve got no problems, it’s all sorted and it’s perfect really – it couldn’t be better.”
With the striker fully fit and his injury concerns behind him now, the 21-year-old is raring to go for the 2021/22 campaign.
Not only is Callum excited about pulling on a Clarets shirt, but also to work under Chelmsford City Manager Robbie Simpson.
He said: “I think I can probably learn a lot from Robbie, I’ve already spoken to him a few times about how I am as a player and what he thinks.
“He thinks that I could go higher, he thinks that I could play well and because he’s been there – it’s not like he hasn’t been at a good level, he’s been at a very good level – to hear that from him, it does give you belief that you can. It’s not just a throwaway comment, he actually means it.
“After the year that I’ve had, I trusted him straight away. That made me feel that coming here was definitely the right thing and I think it could work here.
“The main thing is that I want to play as many games as I possibly can. I know there’s cup competitions and obviously, the league’s the most important but also the FA Cup as well – I’d like to have involvement in that.
“I just want to score as many goals as I can, the same with assists as well. I want to make an impact as much as I can and just create a lot of goals, that’s the main thing.”
Aside from football, the pitch may not be the only place you would find Callum, as the 21-year-old striker has a reasonably new-found passion for golf, which he picked up during the rehabilitation on his ankle.
He explained: “I’ve got really into golf, purely because straight after my surgery I couldn’t run and when I was able to walk again, that was the only thing I could go and do that didn’t impact my ankle.
“So, I got into golf and now I’m just hooked on it. I can’t not play; I love it now. I play every week!”