Big interview: A love of languages and travel, plus a university place to fall back on – Vincent-Young’s more than just a footballer

05 February, 2020 - 06:00
Kane Vincent-Young is currently out injured but has made a big impact at Town.    Picture: Steve Waller

Kane Vincent-Young is currently out injured but has made a big impact at Town. Picture: Steve Waller

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Though he’s currently injured, Kane Vincent-Young made an instant impression with Town fans since his arrival in the summer from Colchester United. Kings of Anglia editor MIKE BACON went to meet him.

Kane Vincent-Young celebrates a goal earlier in the season.  Picture: STEVE WALLERKane Vincent-Young celebrates a goal earlier in the season. Picture: STEVE WALLER

The smile is broad, the handshake friendly.

Although he's currently out injured, Kane Vincent-Young has made quite an impression at Portman Road - and it is not hard to see why.

Not only has he proved an astute signing on the pitch for his new club, his pleasant manner off it makes him easy company.

This is not just a footballer. KVY (as we'll mostly call him from now on), knows there is much more to life than just playing football - and he's determined to make the most of it, travelling the world, being one.

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"I love discovering new places," he said. "At Ipswich we have had a few international breaks recently and I've been fortunate to visit Amsterdam and the south of France, during those times.

"There's no time to waste, you need to get out and about. It's an important part of life, travelling about and seeing how other people live.

"When I was at Spurs (he was at White Hart Lane for eight seasons as a youngster), we went to some amazing countries, visited Vietnam and played in a tournament in front of 20,000, exploring the country during the day. It was great.

"We went on a tour of America, Qatar a couple of times, all priceless memories."

Those far-flung trips are a far cry from KVY's London roots, where he grew up and where his football journey began.

From primary school to secondary school and getting scouted for Spurs, it was the start of a journey he is in the middle of right now but one you feel has a long way to go.

Harry Winks and Kyle Walker-Peters are two of his close pals who have made it with the north London club, although many from KVY's young peer group have done well.

"I should pay credit to a lot of us from my youth team years, alot of us are still playing in League football which is an achievement," he said.

"Yes, great for those who have gone on and made it at Spurs, but I think it is just as big an achievement to still be playing professionally."

Kane Vincent-Young arrived at Town from Colchester. Picture: ITFCKane Vincent-Young arrived at Town from Colchester. Picture: ITFC

And of course he is still playing professionally, even if Spurs didn't take him on - releasing him at 18.

How much of a hammer blow was that for the young KVY?

"It's not nice," he admits. "I felt more for my parents, Ken and Judith, for all the commitments they had made for me, taking me over the years to and from training. I felt like I had almost let them down, it was a horrible feeling and it was hard for them to take as well.

"Both my parents had, and still are, so supportive. It tough. You forfeit your education and put everything into football and then it looks like you are not going to make it."

However, for KVY there were a bright lights on the horizon - in the form of both education and football.

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"Thankfully my academy manager at Spurs, John McDermott, had recommended me to apply to university, this was long before the decision was made whether to keep me on or not," he said.

Kane Vincent-Young in action for Colchester United. Picture: Richard Blaxall/PagepixKane Vincent-Young in action for Colchester United. Picture: Richard Blaxall/Pagepix

"I could have a fall back option then if the football didn't work out. It would mean the worse case scenario seeing me give myself a year to try and find a new team if I deferred my uni place. Or go to uni to study languages - I did my A-level French at Spurs and I can speak a bit of Spanish.

"So, I got into Nottingham University, deferred my year and went looking for a club."

Hang on, hang on, hang on, I tell him.

I'm not letting him just throw that grenade into the conversation about speaking languages. I want more clarity. I don't know many English professional footballers who speak other languages other than their native tongue!

I want to hear more!

He smiles: "Yes, I'm ok at languages. I was always decent at French at school and I did some Spanish exchanges when at Colchester United," (that journey to Essex we have yet to get to!

"I had a French team-mate there so used to speak to him. At Spurs they were great as well. I did my A level in French there, so I coupled that with a BTEC. There was a French lad there as well, so I used to practice with him.

Kane Vincent-Young celebrates a goal for Colchester  Picture: STEVE WALLERKane Vincent-Young celebrates a goal for Colchester Picture: STEVE WALLER

"Years down the line I would like to be proficient in languages."

That deferred place at Nottingham University was not what was coming KVY's way though - he was Colchester United bound!

He said: "I'll be forever grateful to Colchester. It's a great place to be at for young players. I signed as a U21 player but I was put in the first team quite quickly.

"I had to grow up quickly as well. A men's dressing room is very different to a youth team one. I was 18, travelling with the first team, making teas on the bus because you are the youngest. It's all part of learning, it keeps your feet on the ground.

"I never played that season, just got on the bench."

But things were set to change at the start of the 2015/16 season.

Tony Humes was now manager at Col U and KVY featured regularly during Colchester's pre-season preparations that season.

Kane Vincent-Young is expected to return from injury at the end of the month. Photo: Steve WallerKane Vincent-Young is expected to return from injury at the end of the month. Photo: Steve Waller

He played the full 90 minutes during three first-team pre-season friendlies and was selected in Humes' squad to face Blackpool for the opening day fixture. He came off the bench to make his professional debut on August 8, replacing Matthew Briggs at left-back on 79 minutes in the 2-2 draw.

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"It was great," he smiles. "My dad was there that day. I came off the bench again in the next match, then played well for a few games, got some starts, but got injured and a new manager came in.

"Then you start to experience what football's like. You've had that high of playing in the first team and you need to build that high up again as you come back from injury.

"The first couple of years I was in and out of the team. I was young, inconsistent. Then I managed to develop that consistency."

He scored his first professional goal on August 26, 2017 in Colchester's 5-1 win against Forest Green Rovers - a goal that won the club's 'Goal of the Year' award at the annual end of season dinner, while he also won the club's 'Young Player of the Year' award - KVY was making his mark.

Now a regular starter he made 44 appearances for the U's last season - and then Ipswich Town came calling.

"When I knew about Ipswich, it was a no-brainer," he said.

"What an amazing club, huge history. I only realised how big the club was when I got here.

"The fan base is fantastic, I got to see the stadium the way everything is done around it is great. I thought it the perfect step for me to take to go to the next level. Get myself out of my comfort zone. Try and stretch myself, see what I can do.

"The history of Ipswich Town is part of the club. In many ways it's an inspiration. You can see it in the stadium, feel it in the stadium. Hopefully we can create some history ourselves.

"The fans are unbelievable - the best I've seen. We're in League One and playing in front of 20,000 on a Tuesday night. You have to say, 'what is going on?' It's crazy, fantastic, great fans."

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