Fernando Bell-Toxtle is a 19 year old midfielder who played youth football in China before returning to England and winning a scholarship with Cambridge United.
Now playing first team football with Basford, we caught up with Fernando to talk to him about his career, who he would like to represent at international level and this seasons promotion.
You had an interesting start to your career, almost joining Luton before moving to China?
I was fairly young at the time, but I remember performing well and getting asked to join the academy set up, which is great but due to my dads work we had to move abroad.
You returned to England and had trials with the likes of Derby and Norwich before joining Cambridge United’s academy?
Norwich was a great experience for me, it was my first taste of academy football since returning back to England from China.
Went on tour with them and won the Foyle Cup in Ireland. Although I wasn’t quite good enough at the time, it helped me realise what I needed to do in order to reach those standards.
Derby was also another good experience and learning curve. But again i wasn’t quite good enough at the time and the distance was too far.
Eventually I got spotted by Cambridge at Under-15’s and did really well and was offered a scholarship.
You were offered a contract extension with Cambridge but turned it down?
The head of academy at the time said look, we would be able to offer you a 3rd year because I was one of them players who had performed well over the course of the two years however they weren’t quite sure if I was ready.
I had a good relationship with him and he was brutally honest and said I may train with the youth team a lot next year etc. They didn’t have an Under-23’s either so would get sent out on loan and probably be that ‘forgotten figure’ so I weighed up my options and took a chance.
I did well in my loan spell at St Neots, helping them escape relegation so I knew I could play at a good level in men’s football. I thought I would move on to the next Chapter in my career and get a degree behind myself in case football doesn’t work out while playing men’s football.
You now find yourself at Basford. Congratulations on your promotion, how does it feel to play a big part in that?
I mean it’s a great achievement. I am at a great club with great supporters, players and staff who are all working together to make the club better.
The Chairman has invested a lot of money and loves the club dearly and I am thankful to have been offered a contract and getting a good amount of game time at a really good club.
How do you feel you have performed in your first full season of first team football?
In my first full season of men’s football. I am delighted.
Not often in your career you win silverware, which hopefully I do with Basford in the forthcoming games. Overall is has been a good season, I have contributed with 8 goals for both Rushden and Basford and a couple assists which isn’t a bad return for a 19 year old.
I can hopefully only get better and keep trying to improve along the way.
What your style of play?
I am a very energetic midfielder. I get in people’s faces, try to win second balls and keep the ball for the team.
A lot of my goals have come from deep 3rd man runs, so running beyond the strikers and breaking lines is a big part of my game at the moment.
You are eligible to represent England or Mexico at international level, do you have a preference?
I would definitely like to represent Mexico. I’ve always said it and I’d love to do it for my mum.
I mean if England come calling I’m not going to complain but if I had a choice of the two I would pick Mexico.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I want to try get back into the professional game by the age of 22.
everyone’s time frame is different but hopefully if I work hard, work on my weaknesses and do the extras that will help me achieve that, then it will come.