Seagulls youngster learnt plenty of lessons during Luton loan move

Aaron Connolly during his Football League debut at Charlton
Aaron Connolly during his Football League debut at Charlton

Brighton & Hove Albion youngster Aaron Connolly insisted he learnt plenty of lessons during his frustrating loan spell with Luton this season.

The 19-year-old was signed by the Hatters in January, although didn't actually link up with his new team-mates until April, when he recovered from a hamstring injury.

Connolly made just two substitute appearances for Town in the end, his Football League debut in the 3-1 defeat at Charlton, and then the final minutes of Hatters' 3-1 win over Oxford United, which sealed the League One title.

Speaking to the Seagulls' club website, Connolly said: "It was good to go into a team that were pushing for promotion, but obviously because they were doing so well, it was hard for me to get into the team.

“It would have been good to go there in January, but obviously injuries happen, so I went there late and wasn’t able to play as much as I would have hoped for.

“I can’t be too upset about it - they were 28 games unbeaten when I arrived, so I couldn’t really expect to go straight into a team doing that well.

“I can take experience from training with men everyday.

"I also made my league debut, so hopefully I can just kick on from there next season.

“It’s definitely taught me lessons and that’s what I’m looking for at 19.

"It was a loan spell that didn’t quite work for me, but I can make it work in different ways."

With the Seagulls starting a third season in the Premier League next term, Connolly would be interested in another spell away from the Amex to give himself every chance of breaking into the Brighton first team.

He added: "I just want to get more experience, if not in the first team here then I’d definitely like to be in a first team somewhere else on loan next season.

“Hopefully I could then come back here the season after next and stake a claim for a place in the first team.

“The club has shown a lot of faith in me at 19 years of age, giving me a three-and-a-half year contact — hopefully I can repay that faith over the next three years or so.”

Connolly is in the running to be named Premier League 2 Player of the season award after scoring 11 goals for the Seagulls as they finished in third place, plus netting five times in the Checkatrade Trophy as well.