Barnsley: Alfie Mawson buzzing for Championship test

Barnsley's Alfie Mawson (left) and Millwall's Steve Morison battle for the ball during the Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final at Wembley

Barnsley's Alfie Mawson (left) and Millwall's Steve Morison battle for the ball during the Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final at Wembley

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Barnsley defender Alfie Mawson is floating on cloud nine - and, at just 22 years old, is readying himself for the test of the Championship.

Talented centre-back Mawson has been inspirational for the resurgent Reds this season as they turned down what was a failing season into one of unprecedented success.

Two titles, promotion to the English second tier and the chance to mix it with clubs like Newcastle United and Aston Villa next term.

“This is probably the best that the club has ever done in a season,” reflected Mawson.

“I know it’s play-offs and I know we could have gone up automatically if we played like how we did at the end in the beginning.

“But to win twice [at Wembley, well no-one’s complaining. It’s brilliant to have been there twice and to win there twice is amazing. It’s such a special feeling.”

Mawson was signed by former Reds boss Lee Johnson as a talent for the future.

And the former Brentford powerhouse has certainly lived up to his billing, forming a commanding partnership alongside Marc Roberts this season.

“When I met Lee he said he was going to brush me up and do certain things and he said this club would be brilliant for me and my development,” added Mawson.

“I took what he said on board and put in a lot of hard work and that work’s paid off as I can now say that I’m a Championship player.

“With the manager leaving, obviously he’d done very well and he deserved a move. He’s where he deserves to be in the Championship.

“But we had that streak where we were losing games and it wasn’t a case of us playing badly.”

The Reds were rooted to the bottom of the table at the end of November but ended up finishing a commendable sixth position – and then blew Walsall and Millwall away in the play-off knockout stages to secure a return to the Championship after a two-year absence.

“Were playing well and little things just weren’t going our way,” said Mawson.

“We’ve turned it around well and I’m really happy that we stuck together.

“We were getting a lot of stick from certain people and off the fans - rightly so - but we looked after each other and that’s the main thing.

“But the new manager, Paul Heckingbottom, came in and we’ve had some success.

“So we’ll enjoy the celebrations and see what the future holds.”

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