SIMON Walton was the pick of the bunch for Hartlepool United during the 2-0 defeat to Telstar – but the summer signing insists he’s still a fair way off his very best.
The combative midfield man made every effort to stamp his authority over Pools’ free-passing opponents during last night’s friendly in Holland.
But Walton and co came up short as a goal in each half saw home victory for the natives, although the Pools new boy insists it was a worthwhile exercise despite the outcome.
“It was tough, but it was the first game and it’s always just a case of getting through it,” the 24-year-old told SportMail.
“It was nice to get out on the pitch again and I enjoyed it, although we couldn’t really get near them at times.
“It serves a purpose fitness wise and there are no points at stake just yet so we’ll take what we need to from it and just move on.
“We have stuff to improve on and I’m sure we will over the next few weeks, we’ve got to.”
He went on: “There’s four weeks until the start of the season and if I said I was ready to play the first league game then I’d be lying, as I’m sure every other player in England would be.
“I’m getting there, though, and I’ve certainly put in some graft this past week or so.”
The handful of Pools fans present at the northern Netherlands outpost of Heiloo witnessed the all-action Walton attempt to take charge of things in the middle of the park.
The former Plymouth Argyle skipper was audible throughout at the intimate, tree-ringed venue, and that, he says, is a key part of his game.
“I get frustrated when there’s not much going on and I like to be in the thick of it,” he said.
“I want to do everything at times and that’s not always possible.
“But I’m a vocal type of player and I’ll let my feelings be known, you’ve got to in that position.
“I’m still learning about the lads and they’re still learning about me, but the first couple of weeks have been great.
“We’ve just got to put the work in over the next few weeks and make sure we’re ready for that first game, because that is what counts.”