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Dream time for Morrell

Just a day after helping Wales qualify for Euro 2020, Joe Morrell was on top of the Ashton Gate roof reflecting on a dream 24 hours.

The 22-year-old has signed a contract until June 2022 with the option of a further year for the Wales international.

And after putting pen to paper, the Bristol City FC Academy product, currently on loan at Lincoln City, said: “I’m delighted to sign the new contract and it tops of what has been a pretty good few weeks and season so far.

“It’s another thing that will keep me on my toes and keep me motivated because my ambition is to play for Bristol City and while I am still contracted here that will always be my aim, especially coming through the Academy and growing up in Bristol – it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, play for Bristol City.

“That’s obviously my aim for future seasons, and having this contract gives me the security and the belief that the club have in me that they do see me playing in the first team at some point.

“I’ve really felt that support from Bristol City. Obviously I haven’t been there this season but I’ve still felt connected to the club through the system we have in place through the loan players – it helps that you have staff like Brian Tinnion (Loans Manager) who keep tabs on you. The Gaffer and the coaching staff I’ve been in contact with regularly so it definitely makes it a lot easier when you are out on loan that you still feel part of the club.”

For the moment Morrell is enjoying his time with the Imps, saying: “Lincoln City have been brilliant. It was an obvious choice for me to go out and play football and that’s what the coaches here at Bristol City wanted me to do. Lincoln was the number one choice for me and they have been nothing short of brilliant – the players, fans and coaching staff have been fantastic.

“Bristol City and Lincoln have to take a lot of credit for me being in this position because if I hadn’t have been playing regular football I probably would not have had the call-up.

“I have the same feelings towards Cheltenham as I do towards Lincoln. It was a club that gave me that platform to perform every week which is what I needed at that stage of my career. I’ll always be grateful to the two managers (Lee and Gary Johnson, then Cheltenham Town manager) for that opportunity because I wouldn’t be in that position for sure.

“I wasn’t meant to start the first game and then Nigel Atanga was ill and I ended up starting that one and the next 37 so I’ll always be grateful to him as well as Cheltenham.”

Morrell is still pinching himself after starting alongside Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey in the 2-win over Hungary and before that against Croatia’s Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.

“Last night was amazing – it doesn’t really get much better,” added Morrell. “To qualify for a major European competition is a position I never thought I’d be in, especially so soon. The atmosphere was unbelievable, it’s something I’ve never experience before.

“I’ve probably played in front of bigger crowds than that but in terms of the occasion and what it means, not just to the players and the supporters but to the country is obviously something you can’t replicate when you play club football. But it’s not just for me, it’s for the people around me who have supported me throughout my career so far.

“The experiences that I have had have been surreal, really. I’ve probably watched every Luka Modric video there is because he is someone I look up to as a small, technical midfielder,” added Morrell.

“Someone who has been the best in my position over the past five to 10 years, he’s always someone that I’ve aspired to be and when you are trying to get the ball off him – trying, because it’s pretty difficult – only when you take a step back after the game and realise the situation do you put it into perspective then it’s pretty surreal.”

Ashley Williams, signed by City this season, is now a Welsh teammate and Morrell added: “Although we play for the same club, I’d never met Ash before the last camp so it was a bit of a weird situation but he’s one of the real leaders in the group. There’s quite a lot of younger players in the team and we have needed to draw on people’s experiences to achieve what we have done and again to hopefully achieve more in the future.”


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