Some people might view dropping down three divisions as a backwards step in their career, but not Cameron Dawson.
The Sheffield Wednesday youngster initially joined Alfreton Town on a month’s loan in August.
Although he conceded 10 goals in his first two starts, including a 7-0 thrashing at Grimsby, Dawson’s performances caught the eye, prompting Alfreton to extend his loan deal until November 22.
The 19-year-old is enjoying playing regular first-team football at the Impact Arena.
He told The Star: “It’s proper football. People’s jobs depend on the results. People go in and work hard, putting everything in for the cause so the loan can only be a good thing for my development.
“You can train as much as you like but nothing compares to stepping out every Saturday and playing games.
“I didn’t play too many times last year and I feel, at this point in my career, I need to be playing week in, week out.”
Dawson, who has represented England at Under-18 and Under-19s level, has featured prominently for Alfreton, making 16 starts. His latest outing came in their goalless draw with much fancied Bristol Rovers in midweek. That was Dawson’s fourth clean sheet and he thinks his temporary stint away from Hillsborough is a vital part of his football education.
“Things are going really well,” he said. “I feel like I am improving with every game I play.
“As time has gone on, I have got stronger and I just want to keep on getting better.”
When asked what aspects of his performance have improved, Dawson, who is contracted to Wednesday until 2016, said: “My communication and decision making has got better.
“Your game management has to be good and you have to do the right things at the right times.
“I have learned loads. It’s different to Under-21s football. It’s proper men’s football. Players try to be a bit cuter and gain an advantage whenever they can.”
Dawson has not ruled out extending his loan deal with Alfreton.
He said: “My deal expires on November 22 so we will have to see what happens.
“I’m enjoying playing every week and that’s what I need at this stage of my career. I just want to carry on playing games wherever that may be.”
Alfreton are third-from-bottom in the Vanarama Conference after recording just five wins from their 19 matches.
“It is a much better standard than what I expected going into it,” admitted Dawson.
“There are some big teams in league now with the likes of Bristol Rovers and Torquay coming down and I am really enjoying it.
“We have had some good results mixed in with some bad ones. We just haven’t been able to string back to back wins together.”