Scott Banks has been thriving at youth level with Crystal Palace this season – but now the talented playmaker wants to make his mark in the senior game at Dunfermline.
The teenager is back in Scottish football on loan from Crystal Palace following his big move south from Dundee United last season. He’s had brief glimpses of senior football with Alloa, the Arabs and Clyde, but now he looks for regular minutes at East End Park, coming off the back of an excellent first half of the season in Premier League 2.
Captaining the Crystal Palace U23s team and shining in that side has been great but now Banks is after senior opportunities: “I just wanted the opportunity to play some football back at a men’s level, which is something I really enjoyed in the past.
“If the gaffer is going to give me an opportunity to go and express myself in a way that I might not be able to do at another club, then obviously the attraction is going to be to come here. Here I can hopefully perform the best for the team.
“The gaffer wanted me to come here and I was so eager to come. It worked, and I’m delighted. You forget sometimes that anyone can be watching any game. It’s comforting to know that people are watching and monitoring, and now that I’m here the gaffer likes the way I play and what I can bring to the team. It feels good.”
Banks has been training with the Eagles first-team and he says former Hamilton Accies midfielders James McArthur and James McCarthy have been a real help for him, describing what it’s like to be amongst those at the elite level.
He said: “They have both helped me massively. They proved what they can do up here and got their moves down there. Both of them are great, great guys, talking me through things and easing me into the group. They’ve both been excellent. They’re two top guys, to say the least.
“It’s enjoyable, to say the least. The 23s are great as well but the first-team players are players you grow up watching and hearing about, and it’s very strange to be rubbing shoulders with these guys.
“I like to think I’m quite quick but when Zaha gets going I don’t think there’s anybody as quick with the ball at their feet. It’s not really a competition, me and him yet. Jairo Riedewald has been at Ajax and technically he’s unbelievable.
“Trying to match him in training is a challenge. You just can’t get the ball off him. It’s something I think I’ve got in my game but he’s on a different level. There’s loads of examples throughout that whole squad but the motivation you get training with them is something else.
“Obviously I’m striving to play in that team at the end of the day and watching them and seeing what they can do shows the challenge I’ve got to get to that level. I think I’m ready to go into the first team whenever I can, but I don’t think that’s maybe the view down there as of yet.
“I’ve got loads I can work on in terms of my physicality and size, and the Championship is a physical league, so that’s something I can do here.”
With a target of reaching Premier League heights on his mind, Banks says Crystal Palace have told him to use the Pars as an outlet to express himself: “They want me to be enjoying my football and my age and to show people what I can do.
“But they want me to really affect the games as much as I can and show them why I’m coming from a team like Palace. That 23s league is good. We played Stoke away and they had a few first-team players in, so there was Ryan Shawcross and guys like that. So, you do get the opportunity to play against players of those levels.
“At the same time the games aren’t as competitive as they are in, for example, the Scottish Championship, which is why I’ve been wanting to come here and play. I enjoy playing for the 23s and I’ve put in a lot of good performances, but ultimately I want to be playing men’s football as much as I can and that’s what this move is allowing me to do.”
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