BEN Gladwin enjoyed his first Christmas as a professional footballer, claiming he found it pretty easy to avoid over-indulging on festive treats.
The midfielder only signed for Swindon Town from non-league Marlow in November and this Yuletide was the first time he had experienced the limitations of being a pro at Christmas.
While his family might have been stuffing their faces with turkey and trimmings and downing more than one or two of their favourite tipples, Gladwin was sticking to a strict diet ahead of the Boxing Day clash with Brentford.
“It was very different,” he said. “It was a lot more strict in terms of not going out so much, not eating so much, not drinking but it’s what I want to do and where I want to be so I loved every minute of it.
“It wasn’t that hard. When you put into perspective the opportunity I’ve been given and what the tasks are - you’ve got a league game the next day - it’s an important thing to look after yourself otherwise you’re going to go out on the pitch and get exposed.
“The family were fully behind me and they were making sure that I wasn’t going anywhere near it.”
Gladwin has been surprised by the amount of gametime he has managed since joining Swindon.
The playmaker has made three substitute appearances for the Robins and has been a regular fixture in manager Mark Cooper’s matchday squads.
“I spoke with a few people and said I was going to write this season off - not in terms of not wanting to play but in terms of not expecting to play and get used to everything,” he said.
“I’m delighted I got some minutes. I might have been thrown in at the deep end but it’s probably helped me adjust a bit quicker.
“The tempo is just massively different, it’s so much faster - especially in the final third - and people are just doing the right things all of the time.
“To come in now and have the gaffer have a bit of faith in me and get minutes on the pitch is really pleasing. I want to make sure I maintain my place in the squad and try to get more minutes.
“It’s started to sink in that it’s my job now and I’m here to try and help the squad and the gaffer to win things.”