The schedule of an Academy player at Crystal Palace mirrors – as closely as possible – that of a first-team player to help aid the transition across Copers Cope Road. Therefore, time off is in short supply for all of the club’s players and it’s time that’s undoubtedly treasured, especially with the festive period approaching - a spell that always takes its toll.
For Scott Banks, that time was being spent with teammate Rob Street playing golf before catching up with the club’s media team.
This interview with Banks materialised at the behest of our fans, with our social media team asking the club’s Twitter followers which Academy talent they would like to hear from next, after summer signing Alfie Matthews’ chat in the Everton programme.
“I’ve seen bits and pieces from the fans – it is nice to see; it is a really good fanbase,” the 19-year-old says. “And it’s something I’ve noticed from the off and is different from anything I have ever experienced.
“There’s a real sense of positivity around the club. I’ve just got to keep putting in the performances and let the rest take care of itself, because it is not something I can really control, but it is nice to see.”
A Premier League 2 debut brace and a league-wide Player of the Month nomination means that Banks is doing just that. However, whilst the Scotsman’s name is filling our Twitter mentions, it was the club appearing in Banks’ mentions that first made the former Dundee United winger aware of his POTM nomination.
Crystal Palace's Scott Banks nominated for Premier League 2 Player of the Month5 October 2020
“I didn’t even know it was a thing [Player of the Month competitions],” Banks laughs, “until it popped up that the club had tweeted about me.
“It’s a good bit of press for me. It is exciting to be in that conversation with those other players, even if I’m not successful.”
Banks’ high-profile month couldn’t have started in a better way. But it took him a while to appreciate just how impressive his Man of the Match performance in the three-all draw with West Bromwich Albion was.
“At the time, it was frustrating conceding in the last minute,” he admits. “But looking back now, it was a great day for me: to score two, assist one and go close to assisting another right at the end. I don’t think you can ask for a better opening day.”
October is already looking promising for Banks, too, with Shaun Derry handing him the captain’s armband for the game against Aston Villa - a first for the teenager at any level.
“It was really strange: I am captaining a team that Nathaniel Clyne is playing in – there was something surreal about that,” Banks admits.
“You can see instantly the qualities he has and why he’s had the career he has. He’s so comfortable on the ball, a threat going forward and solid at the back. That was a huge reassurance for us having him there, and he consistently kept creating chances for us.”
But for two heart-breaking late goals, Derry’s side would be sitting with four points from their first three games. Though as the club acclimatises to the new demands that come with being a top-tier Academy, there’s plenty to get excited about.
“It has been a step-up for everyone going to a Category 1 Academy and playing in Premier League 2,” Banks says. “We’ve been more than up for the challenge; we’ve put in some good performances and haven’t been scared to play the more established teams at this level.
“It is exciting times,” Banks closes out better than we ever could.
The interview with Scott Banks features in the Brighton & Hove Albion matchday programme. Begin your pre-match buildup ahead of Sunday, now, by purchasing the digital programme for just £1.99.