Young Luton centre half Frankie Musonda knows that a ‘massive’ season lies ahead of him after earning a 12-month extension to his contract.
The 19-year-old made five first appearances for the club in the Checkatrade Trophy last term, doing enough to be awarded an extra year by manager Nathan Jones.
I’m excited as I know I’ve got the ability to impress the manager so I just can’t wait to get started again.Frankie Musonda
However, Musonda knows that the 2017-18 campaign will be a huge one for him personally, as he tries to force his way into first team contention on a regular basis.
Speaking to the News/Gazette, he said: “This is a massive season for me, I can’t afford to not be playing or not impress, I have to impress.
“I’m excited as I know I’ve got the ability to impress the manager so I just can’t wait to get started again. I got five starts under my belt in some good games against some good League One sides.
“I feel like I’m ready now for this season to really show the gaffer that he can trust me and put me in for the league ones rather than just the cup ones.
“I thought there were a few times I could have got an opportunity in the league but didn’t, but the gaffer knows best, he’ll know when it’s right for me.
“I’ve just got to get my head down and keep working hard, so now I’m making sure I’m in the best condition ready for when we’re back in later in June.”
On what he had discussed with Town chief Jones prior to penning his new deal, Musonda said: “He was waiting to see what was going on with the play-offs before I found out.
“But I sort of felt that I’d done well enough to get at least another year. When he spoke to me he said I’d done well, but this year I’ve got to really kick on now and it’s a big year for me, which is true.”
Although he might not have played for the first team as much as he wanted, Musonda felt he gained some invaluable experience from just being at the matches, either watching on from the bench or the stands, plus training with the senior players too.
He said: “I definitely wanted to play a lot more but I’ve definitely learned a lot from watching, which is something a bit strange.
“Training with them day in day out, I’ve learned so much from them this season, it’s the most I’ve learned in my career so far.
“All the senior boys have been great for me and all the young lads. They’re not selfish players, we’re a team and they want what’s best for the team.”
One of the cup games that Musonda did feature in was a 3-1 defeat to a physical Millwall side at Kenilworth Road and he felt that was a key point in his development too, saying: “After that game, I think they were a bit curious to see how I’d react to it as well, because I didn’t have the greatest of games.
“Then we played Swindon away and I played really well that game and they were pleased for me.”
With Hatters fully moved into their new training ground at the Brache too, Musonda believes he can’t help but continue his progression with the Hatters, adding: “It’s a great place to be at the minute and I definitely expect big things from us this season.
“Now that we’ve got such great facilities, it’s not far off a Championship side training ground and with all the new astro and the new pitches, it’s a lot better than the old training ground.
“The sessions flow much better, there’s less bobbles on the pitch, so it’s all smoother, especially the way we like to play, the passing game, it’s really good. Some people don’t want to leave when they get there which is even better because it means everyone is putting in that extra bit of effort, but with the better quality facilities for us as well.”