Connor Wickham has signed for Sunderland and good luck to him. It is a daunting enough challenge for anyone to take a major step in your career, for an 18-year-old it is all the more challenging, while incredibly exciting at the same time.
I remember joining my first ship after completing my training, I too was 18, and a month later I found myself at war. OK it was only the Cod War and apart from throwing a few spuds at the Icelandic gun boats that buzzed our warship (HMS Falmouth for those who care) the trip was made up mainly of long days and nights, mince in many forms for main meals and the biting cold when sent on the upper deck to do vital electrical maintenance work, ie changing lamps.
We did have some excitement on the last night of our stint at the end of May when we rammed a gun boat that was trying to cut the nets of a fishing trawler.
Anyhow I digress, Connor will have to get used to a new area to live in, with the Mackem accent to deal with, then new team-mates and a new boss in Steve Bruce, before being called into any real action. He will be wondering if he is going to fit in, on and off the pitch, live up to the price tag and quickly win over a new set of fans.
As a level-headed lad coming from family life that involved moving with his army dad, Connor will be used to change and is laid back enough to accept and embrace change. He also has belief in his own ability - all he has to do now is show it and not be daunted.