Barnsley: Jared Bird looking to find his wings in Reds’ first-team

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Youngster Jared Bird is eying up a place in the Barnsley first team after a successful loan spell last season.

The 20-year-old got his first real taste of competitive football in the trenches of League Two with Yeovil Town.

Before making the move to get regular minutes the midfielder made three Championship appearances for the Reds and played the full 90 against Tottenham Hotspur in the EFL Cup.

The player notched up 16 outings after his January switch to the Glovers, including valuable experience in the FA Cup against eventual runners-up Manchester United.

Bird reflected: “I thought it went really well. I went there to play games and get valuable experience - and I think that’s what I did.

“I came into the club and spoke to [U23s boss] Paul Harsley, and he said that the aim for next season is to get into the first team and try and cement a place there . That’s exactly what I think as well.

“I think I learnt a lot. I played in some big games like against Manchester United and Shrewsbury, and even in the league games I learnt a lot because the players in that league have been playing football for a long time now.

“There’s some really experienced players in that league. So learning from them and playing against them was really good.

“It was a lot different physicality-wise because there’s a lot of experienced pros in that league and they can throw their weight about.

“But you just have to get used to that. You have to be clever, you have to use your body well and work around that really.”

Bird will return to Oakwell as part of Harsley’s U23s with a chance to stake a claim in the first team.

And Bird was delighted with how his gaffer kept a close eye on what he was doing during his time at Huish Park.

He added: “He rang me most weeks asking how I was getting on, how much game time I was getting and if I was enjoying it. He was in contact quite regularly.”

“It’s really nice when they’re asking how I’m doing and coming to watch a few of my games is really good to see that they’re interested,” he added.