Patience is really starting to pay off for Luton striker Zane Banton after making his third cameo in the space of a week for for Luton Town.
The 19-year-old made his Football League debut during the recent 2-0 defeat to Accrington, before coming on in the closing stages of the 1-0 victory over Dagenham & Redbridge and Saturday’s 3-2 success at Oxford.
Banton’s last appearance in Town colours prior to the Stanley game had been back on January 14, 2014, over two years ago, as he said: “I’m very happy, it’s all come round pretty quickly, but I’ve had to be patient and it feels like I’ve been patient for quite a while.
“I guess it’s paid off because the appearances I’ve made, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and been delighted with.”
During his time at Town, Banton was sent on loan to the likes of Boreham Wood, Concord Rangers and Hemel Hempstead Town.
Although he appreciated the experience he gleaned, he also admitted it left him wondering if he would ever make it at Kenilworth Road.
Banton continued: “It’s a bit of both as it definitely helped me as I started in the Southern Prem and that was a good challenge.
“After a while got told by the gaffer that was here before I needed a bit of a bigger challenge and then I wen tup a league and went up a league again.
“It definitely helped me going from youth team football to mens football, so it definitely, definitely helped.
“But then I guess I wouldn’t lie and would say I was frustrated as well, because I’d been doing well on loan for so long and it was a case of ‘how long am I going to have to keep doing this for before I get noticed?’”
The forward revealed it had left him doubting his future at times too, but that those close to him helped him dispel such emotions.
He said: “As a footballer you always get those thoughts, you’re bound to get those sort of thoughts when you’re in my situation for a long period of time, definitely, they definitely creep across your mind.
“Does my future really lie here? Am I really going anyway? But when you’ve got good family like mine, good friends and even senior pros in the team, it all helps you to keep going.
“Obviously you want to keep going yourself, which I am, I’m very determined, very motivated. But with people like that around telling you keep at it and you’re mindset saying the same thing, it brushes those thoughts away.”
Once new boss Nathan Jones came in though, he was quick to recall Banton from his second spell with Hemel and keep a close eye on him in training.
Banton said: “Nathan Jones has just showed his faith in me, bringing me on and keeps telling me well done and keep doing what I’m doing in training each day.
“When he first came in, I was on loan, only had a couple of sessions with him and then straight away off the back of that he called me back off loan and ever since then I’ve been involved in every single session with him.
“He’s said it doesn’t matter how old you are if you’re doing well and you deserve it he’ll give you a chance.
“He won’t just hand out chances and debuts for the sake of it, so you’ve still got work hard, but you know if you are working hard as a young player, he’ll definitely notice it.”
On the moment that Banton was finally handed his Football League debut against Stanley, he added: “It was probably one of the best moments of my life because I’ve had to be so patient.
“To finally do it was a very, very good feeling, I was a bit nervous, but more relieved that I’d finally done it and excited about the future as well.”