BRADFORD City winger Adam Wilson admits his previous club encouraged him to use them as a stepping stone to get back into the Football League.

Ashington-born Wilson grew up playing in Newcastle United’s academy but last September, he made the brave and unusual move to Wales in order to get regular first-team football with The New Saints in the Cymru Premier.

TNS have won 11 of the last 14 top-flight titles in Wales, including last season while Wilson was there, so it was not the most competitive environment for the 23-year-old.

But those at the club felt he would gain the confidence and first-team experience he needed to make a go of things back in England.

He told the T&A: “It was always the hope to get back into the Football League.

“The coaches, manager and all the staff at TNS told me to use being there as a platform to express myself.

“They said ‘you never know what will happen in the future’, so I feel like I took their advice on board to get here.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Adam Wilson (left) played from the start in City's 1-0 win over AFC Wimbledon last month.Adam Wilson (left) played from the start in City's 1-0 win over AFC Wimbledon last month. (Image: PA.)

Reflecting upon the differences between playing academy and reserves football with Newcastle to top-flight football in Wales, Wilson said: “It was a different environment and you just had to get used to it straightaway.

“There was no time to be dwelling on it or stressing about being put in a different situation.

“I feel like I coped with it okay though.

“There were different grounds in the league and a lot of the games were played on 4G surfaces, which I had to get used to, going from grass to those.

“It was alright once I got going though. It probably took me a week to get used to the way the ball moved about on different surfaces, but after that it was okay.”

Asked about the experience of playing for the league’s dominant side, Wilson said: “That was good, because I had a lot of time to get at players and express myself.

“It was a good experience all-round really.”

Wilson often found himself playing in front of small crowds in Wales, so he has loved his experiences of Valley Parade so far.

The highlight of those has to be his late equaliser against Wrexham in front of a raucous crowd in excess of 20,000 supporters, but the place captured his imagination long before then.

He said: “I visited the stadium just before I signed for the club to watch a game.

“I was really pleased with how loud the fans were and the stadium just gave me a feeling I couldn’t describe.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Adam Wilson celebrates his goal against Wrexham, in front of a packed Valley Parade.Adam Wilson celebrates his goal against Wrexham, in front of a packed Valley Parade. (Image: Thomas Gadd.)

“We didn’t get many fans at TNS home games, so it’s a big difference here.”

He is not fazed by that intense atmosphere either, especially after one unique experience back in 2019.

Wilson recalled: “I enjoy the big crowds, like when I played for Newcastle at Sunderland in the Checkatrade Trophy and there was about 20,000 people there.

“It was crazy, because there were police everywhere with it being a local derby, but I really liked that.

“Thankfully I didn’t take any corners, so I wasn’t too near the crowd at any point.

“It was a really good experience for me to have as a player.”

There was a similar attendance for that Tyne-Wear derby as there was at Valley Parade for Graham Alexander’s first game in charge, at home to Barrow on Saturday.

Wilson came on inside the final 10 minutes, with Alexander playing him in an emergency left-back role.

Given both Liam Ridehalgh (concussion) and Daniel Oyegoke (shoulder) look set to miss out on this weekend’s trip to Notts County, using Wilson at full-back again is an option the new boss may even consider from the start.