Getting to know. . . Josh Vickers
30th December 2015
As part of our new Swans Academy content, we speak to an upcoming talent within the youth ranks at the club.
Next in our in-depth interview is under-21s keeper Josh Vickers, who talks about his move from Arsenal, working with current keeper coach Tony Roberts and taking advantage of beach life in Swansea.
Moving from the heart of a London lifestyle to the more tranquil surroundings of Swansea Bay, many would think life in SA1 could take some getting used to for a man who grew up in Essex and London.
"The first thing I noticed when I moved here is that everything is so chilled," says Josh Vickers. "It fits in with my style. When I am not training or playing football, I like to relax."
Despite a sudden summer switch, which brought an end to a 12-year association with Arsenal's academy, the goalkeeper admits he has settled into Swansea life quicker than he expected.
"Compared to Canvey and Concord, Swansea's beaches are much better," jokes the Billericay-born 20-year-old, who spent time on loan at both locations over the past two years.
"Everything back in London and Essex is so hectic, with the pace of life about a 100 miles-an-hour, so coming to Swansea is a fantastic change.
"I am a big personality on the pitch, but off it I am quiet. I like relaxing with my girlfriend and family, and I have started doing yoga as a new hobby.
"We even got a French bulldog called Oscar recently, and we enjoy walking him along the beach."
Life for Vickers could have been different this season, had it not been for a phone call in July from a former coach that helped the shot-stopper swap North London for South Wales.
"I got the call from Tony (Roberts) two days before the clubs were due to report back for pre-season," he adds.
"He told me that Swansea were interested in having a look at me and asked if I would come down. The answer was of course yes!
"Then he called back to say a trial was all sorted and that I had a hotel booked. The rest, as they say, is history.
"From working with him at Arsenal, I knew it was an opportunity I could not turn down.
"There are a lot of similarities with the way Arsenal and Swansea work as both clubs like to play the ball from the back, so I knew it could be a good opportunity for me."
Following his release from Arsenal, Vickers was handed the chance to train with the Swansea City first team for two weeks during pre-season to earn himself a place in the squad.
It didn't take the Swans backroom staff long to note his energy, personality and presence on the pitch.
"I was asked to join the team on their tour of Germany," says the young shot stopper. "I was told the management wanted to have a closer look at me whilst there to see how I gelled with the rest of the team - it was like an added bonus.
"I did not really feel any nerves or worry too much about whether I was going to get a contract; it was just a great opportunity to train with the lads and be part of the team.
"Being a professional footballer is about looking to impress all the time. I knew the important thing was to knuckle down, focus on the job in hand and try as hard as I could."
After impressing during a 45-minute display that helped the Swans to a 2-1 pre-season win over 1860 Munich, Vickers earned himself a two-year deal at the Liberty Stadium.
As well as former coach Tony Roberts, the move would also reunite him with former Gunners goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
"Having Tony and Fabs here helped me settle in a lot quicker," he continues. "It was great to link-up with Lukasz once again. I had the opportunity to train with him a few times when at Arsenal.
"Now I am lucky to train with him on a weekly basis, I feel I am learning so much from him. He is a great guy - both on and off the pitch.
"To get the chance to work with Tony again is quality. He is one of the main reasons I wanted to come here.
"He narrows everything down to the finest of details. I guarantee he stays up late at night watching each match and training session back. He does not miss a thing, and it is that detail I like."