Fanimo firing on all cylinders

The season might be coming to an end, but Matthias Fanimo is already making big plans for the next campaign.

The England Under-18 winger will embark on his first season as a full-time professional in 2012/13 and he wants to mark it by forcing his way into Sam Allardyce's first-team squad.

Fanimo is also targeting a place in England's squad for the UEFA European Under-19 Championship finals in Lithuania in July 2013.

"Being in the Academy has been a great experience," said Fanimo. "I think we've come a long way and the main thing is that we're still strong as a unit.

"I think, from a young age, we knew we had a good year-group. We've had seasons where we've gone unbeaten and seasons when we've won a lot of games.

"I think it has gone well this season. I've been in and around the reserves and have had a great run with the youth team, so it's been a good year.

"My highlight would have to be the FA Youth Cup game against Wolves, which we won 3-2 and in which I produced one of my better performances.

"We had a good run in the Youth Cup and we had a great chance to go all the way - going out on penalties was a bit unlucky. Overall, we performed well against Chelsea.

"I'm now just looking forward to next season. I think it will be good for me because I'll be closer to the first team and hopefully I'll get my chance and I'll take it."

Fanimo is close friends with both fellow England U18 winger Blair Turgott and U19 forward Rob Hall.

The latter has gone on to make his first-team debut this season and also enjoyed a fine loan spell at Oxford United - both achievements Fanimo is keen to emulate.

"I just have to keep working hard and hopefully the opportunities will come. I want to push on because it is possible. Some people have a tendency to be jealous when they see other people push on, but I see it as motivation.

"Myself and Rob are good mates. He's done really well this season and I'm happy for him. I believe I can do the same next season. Hopefully my hard work will pay off.

"We train most weeks against the first team. It's a good experience to see if you can adapt to how they train - which is a higher quality and tempo than training with the youth team or reserves. I think I adapted to it pretty well so I'm looking forward to being around them more.

"Physically, there is still a lot of work to be done seeing as I'm not the biggest of people, but being small can also be a good thing. I think it works both ways.

"I'll be working hard over the summer to come back fitter and stronger. That will give me a head start on others and hopefully show the manager that I have improved over the summer.

"It would be really great to go on the first-team pre-season tour. We'll see how things work out.

"With England, I'm looking to get noticed. I missed a friendly recently but I reckon if I start off next season well I can get back in there. I would definitely like to get to the EUROs."