Rising England star Raheem Sterling is backing pal Blair Turgott to come of age at Valley Parade.
Striker Sterling was catapulted into Roy Hodgson’s side less than a year after making his Liverpool debut – and he is confident Turgott can propel his own career during his loan stint with the Bantams.
The 18-year-old West Ham winger made his senior debut in Friday’s 1-1 draw with Brentford in the FA Cup and showed plenty of promise.
Turgott, who is seven months older than Sterling, said: “I’m good friends with Raheem and we speak all the time.
“We were on the phone again last week and he was saying how important being on loan will be for me.
“It’s always good to play in a first-team environment and gain that experience. It’s something good on your CV.
“I’m at a good age now and feel I’m ready to be playing. You see how well Raheem has done. When I get to 19, I want to have some games under my belt.”
Turgott has been with West Ham for ten years and admits he has stepped out of his comfort zone but he believes it is a necessary move.
He said: “It’s something you have to do as a footballer. West Ham is all I know but it’s not always going to be an easy route.
“Coming up here is a great experience for me and I’ve got to man up a bit going away from home.
“When I first came, I didn’t even know where the local petrol station was. But it’s all part of the learning process.
“Staying in a different area and being away from familiar territory are things that are going to help me in life and not just football.
“It’s a big, big club which is very attractive and I’m really enjoying the chance to join in.”
Phil Parkinson has already tapped into the West Ham wing academy with Kyel Reid and Zavon Hines. Seeing familiar faces at the club has helped England under-19 international Turgott settle in fast.
“I knew them both from before and was quite good friends with Zavon when he was there,” he said.
“It helps to have people you already know around the training ground. But to be fair, everyone has been very friendly and made me welcome.
“There is a real buzz around the place. Right down to the youth team boys, they are all in a good mood.
“But the manager has to keep people’s feet on the floor to keep the run going.
“It’s completely different to England because you’re playing for three points every week, fans are screaming your name or booing you.
“You have to get used to everything that’s in the territory of being a footballer. England helps but there’s so much more to learn.”