River Allen insists that his long move north is proving well worth his while, after becoming the latest player to join up with Malcolm Crosby’s Gateshead.
Allen, 19, put pen-to-paper on a one-year deal with the Vanarama National League club following a successful three-week trial spell.
The midfielder was released by home-town club Plymouth Argyle in May, after coming through the ranks at Home Park.
After agreeing a first professional contract in the summer of 2014, he broke into the Pilgrims’ first-team last term, making three appearances in all
Loan spells with Gosport Borough and Truro City followed as the season wore on, before Allen linked up with the Tynesiders ahead of their return to pre-
The youngster travelled north on the recommendation of the Heed’s assistant-manager Gary Owers, who worked at Argyle in a variety of roles between 2012
Allen has made four appearances in what has proved a largely encouraging pre-season campaign for Gateshead so far.
And, despite being a long way from home, the teenager affirmed that he has been quick to settle on Tyneside.
He said: “I’ve loved it so far. This is my fourth week in the area now, and I’m settling in well. Moving in with one or two of the other lads has helped.
“Of course, it’s a long way from Plymouth, but it’s a good set-up here – I’ve been very impressed.
“There was a bit of interest elsewhere, but this was always the most promising place for me to come. This was the one I wanted to look at.
“I had worked with Gary Owers during his time at Plymouth, and I came up on trial after having a chat with him.
“This is what I had to do. Moving away from home has helped me to grow up; it wasn’t something I was ever worried about.
“I was obviously at Plymouth since I was seven. I made a few appearances for the first-team last season, but it was a disappointing year overall. I was
surprised I didn’t get a chance to go on and do a bit more.
“I had a couple of loan spells last year – at Gosport and Truro.
“I really enjoyed my time at Gosport – although that seemed like a long way from home back then! I had a good experience at Truro as well, until I got injured.
“The standard is high here at Gateshead, and we have a good group of lads.
“We’re looking to kick-on from last year, and the aim is obviously promotion. There’s a good feeling around the place at the moment.
“I don’t think the fans have seen the best of me yet.
“This is the first run of games I’ve had in five or six months. After that kind of absence, the first couple of games can be hard, especially when you can be
training and playing on the same day.
“We’ve been playing against a number of very different sides, but the results have gone pretty well.”