Matchwinner Josh Key says its ‘every lads dream’ to play for their hometown club

Academy graduates continue to roll off the Cliff Hill production line for Exeter City – with Josh Key the latest to make a name for himself.

The 20-year-old has started both Exeter City’s fixtures so far this season and scored the winner in Tuesday night’s 3-2 win over Forest Green Rovers in the EFL Trophy.

He was one of ten academy graduates in the 18-man squad, and with former Grecian Ollie Watkins on the verge of a £28m move to Premier League Aston Villa, Key said that it shows that anything is possible in football.

If Brentford’s Watkins completed the move, he would join a long list of recent Grecians who have made the step into the Premier League recently, alongside Matt Grimes, Ethan Amapdu, and George Friend, and Key, speaking after Tuesday night’s game, said he would love to one day join them.

Josh Key of Exeter City during Exeter City training session at Exeter City's Cliff Hill Training Ground, Exeter, Devon on Sept 1st 2020. - PHOTO: Phil Mingo/PPAUK
Josh Key of Exeter City during Exeter City training session at Exeter City’s Cliff Hill Training Ground, Exeter, Devon on Sept 1st 2020. – PHOTO: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

“Seeing that happen to players like that who are good lads and grounded people gets you excited,” Key said. “It makes you think that if I keep working hard day-in, day-out, then football can take you anywhere.

“It is a privilege to be part of the team, especially being from Exeter as well, and it’s every lads dream to play for the team where they are from, and I hope there is more to come.”

Exeter City vs Forest Green Rovers

City twice fell behind to Matty Stevens header’s against Forest Green, before first Nicky Ajose and then Matt Jay equalised. Jay then missed a penalty, before in the 67th minute, Key headed home from ten yards after Jack Sparkes flighted a ball into the box.

He said: “I am really happy with the goal. When I was scholar I somehow managed to score a lot with my head, but in training yesterday, I couldn’t score a header, but Greeny said ‘save it for today’.”

City had struggled for the first 30 minutes against the Green Devils, and Key said that afterwards boss Matt Taylor had expressed his disappointed with how the Grecians began the game.

Josh Key of Exeter City during Exeter City training session at Exeter City's Cliff Hill Training Ground, Exeter, Devon on Sept 1st 2020. - PHOTO: Phil Mingo/PPAUK
Josh Key of Exeter City during Exeter City training session at Exeter City’s Cliff Hill Training Ground, Exeter, Devon on Sept 1st 2020. – PHOTO: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

Key said: “Matty talked to us about starting too slow and with us on the back foot, but we took more risks, played higher up, and started winning more balls.

“Football is about the result at the end of the day. We want to play well, but we will build on that heading to Saturday and take the good things from the result. Salford are favourites for the league but we have to look past that and go into it full throttle and start on the front foot and show them what we are about and not let them show us what they are about.”

With new signing Jake Caprice still out injured, and Pierce Sweeney having only just returned from his own absence, Key has started both fixtures so far this season at right-back, and said he hoped he’d done enough to keep his spot for the trip to Moor Lane.

He added: “I want to be in the line-up. We have good players in every position and we all competing for the places, so it keeps each other on our toes, but hope I have done enough to show Matty I can play on Saturday.”

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