‘It’s exciting times, especially for me personally’ – Joe Rowley and Chesterfield on the up after too many downs
Joe Rowley is enjoying an ‘up’ after too many downs in his time as a professional footballer.
It’s two years and one week since he burst onto the League One scene as an exciting 17-year-old attacking midfield talent.
Since then, he and Chesterfield have experienced two relegations and have had to battle to avoid a third this season.
Rowley has played a lot of football, in struggling teams, and his own form and confidence has at times suffered.
But he believes the adversity has built character.
“The past two years have not been as I’d expected or as I’d hoped,” he said.
“There’s been a lot of downs, a lot of times that I’ve struggled.
“All I can do is learn from the experiences, the mistakes I’ve made.
“I think it has made me stronger as a footballer and a person.
“I’ve got to take the positives from it, especially the support from the fans.
“The supporters have really helped me through it, through my bad games, good games, they’ve always been there, always supportive and I can’t really thank them enough.”
The arrival at the Proact of John Sheridan has been a turning point for the whole club, but it also appears to have breathed life into Rowley’s career.
Sheridan admired the midfielder from afar before taking charge of the Spireites and was keen to rebuild his confidence before throwing him back into the team.
Rowley’s first start of 2019 came at Bromley in mid March and he scored a late, vital equaliser.
He’s played in the three games since, all of them wins, and added three assists.
Add an unexpected call up to the England C team – an ‘unbelievable experience and a real honour’ in the teen’s words – and all of a sudden life is good again.
“He told me he’d seen me play before, I just needed to be patient, get my confidence back up in training and he’d give me a chance,” said Rowley.
“When he gave me that chance at Bromley I knew I had to take it.
“I felt like I put in a good performance and the goal was a bonus.
“He’s given the whole club belief and confidence.
“You can see it running through the team and the performances, everyone is playing with a smile on their face and that’s when you play your best football.
“The whole team has done really well, myself included I think, and we’ve pushed up the league.”
Relegation fears have been put to bed and Rowley, along with everyone else around the Proact, can look forward with optimism and excitement.
The aim, he says, is to enjoy football and win as many games as possible before the season ends.
And then focus will turn to the 2019/20 National League promotion bid.
“Everyone is a little bit excited for next year,” said Rowley.
“If we carry on our form into next year we’ve got every chance.
“It’s exciting times, especially for me personally.
“Hopefully I can have better experiences next year than I’ve had previously.”