Callum Lang: Morecambe forward wins EFL Young Player of the Month award

Callum Lang scored five goals in as many games for Morecambe during December
Callum Lang scored five goals in as many games for Morecambe during December

"People's jobs are on the line and I think I've adapted to that well. I've just put everything into it."

It is not always easy to step up from academy football to the demands of fighting a League Two relegation battle, but try telling that to Callum Lang.

The teenage forward, on loan at Morecambe from Wigan, has shone in the first few months of his professional career.

Lang, 19, scored five times in as many games in December, earning him the EFL Young Player of the Month award.

"[Senior football] is a lot different. When I came to Morecambe, it was my first taste of that. My first game was a derby against Accrington and I came on which was a great feeling," he told BBC Sport.

"We were beaten but it was a tight game but everyone worked hard for three points. In the changing room afterwards, everyone had their head down gutted because we knew how important the points were.

"That was my first experience of that but I just wanted to get more of it straight away."

Callum Lang (right) made three senior appearances for Wigan prior to joining Morecambe on loan in August
Callum Lang (right) made three senior appearances for Wigan prior to joining Morecambe on loan in August

Crossing enemy lines

It has been a long path to first-team football for Lang, who began his career with Liverpool before moving to Wigan in his early teens.

"I was with Liverpool Academy as a young lad and I was there for a while but just playing on Saturdays and Sundays," he said.

"Bolton asked me to go on trial. I didn't get signed but Wigan rang up and I went on trial there and was signed for their under-14s and I've been there ever since.

But there was a small issue of family loyalties when it came to playing for his beloved Everton's bitter city rivals.

"I'm a blue and always have been but it wasn't too bad," he added. "I just wanted to play football. As a kid I'd sometimes go in in my Everton kit but I didn't do that too many times because you feel a bit awkward.

"There were good coaches there and they taught me a lot of technical stuff in my game. Going into Sunday football didn't work too well for me at Liverpool, but it helped me massively as a player."

'The best game I've played in my life'

Callum Lang's first goal for Morecambe came in the second half of their 2-0 win against Coventry on 9 December
Callum Lang's first goal for Morecambe came in the second half of their 2-0 win against Coventry on 9 December

Following nine appearances without a goal for Jim Bentley's Shrimps, it all fell into place for Lang last month.

His five goals included two against Yeovil Town as they came from behind to win 4-3 with Kevin Ellison netting a stoppage-time winner on 29 December.

"I got my first goal against Coventry and they all seemed to come at once, I got a good run going and I want to keep it on now," Lang continued.

"It was a great game against Yeovil, probably the best game I've played in my life, I haven't felt anything like that.

"When Kev headed it past the keeper in the 92nd minute, it was a great feeling and to score twice in that game, I was over the moon.

"All my family were there and it was a great game to be involved in. That really helped me with my confidence."

Drawing on experience

Morecambe's veteran striker Ellison, who is double Lang's age at 38, has given the youngster a valuable role model in the League Two side's camp.

"If I make a mistake on the pitch he's the first one to tell me to get my head up and he's been brilliant for me," Lang added.

"Everyone says that he's old enough to be my dad but I can't thank him enough. You could say he's a father figure. He looks after me in the group."

Kevin Ellison has made 303 appearances for Morecambe since joining in 2011
Kevin Ellison has made 303 appearances for Morecambe since joining in 2011

One person who can shed some light on the tough world of professional football is former Everton striker Kevin Campbell, who Lang has struck up a friendship with.

"I know him through the agency I'm with. His son is there. If you want someone to talk to for striker's advice, he's the one to talk to," he said.

"He's helped me a lot and gives me a lot of confidence. The position he was in with his career, a lot of players would love to have that. He worked hard and he got rewards for it and I want to do the same."

His parent club Wigan are five points clear at the top of League One and could be on their way to an immediate return to the Championship after relegation last season.

Asked whether he can force his way into a Latics team potentially in the second tier in 2018-19, Lang said: "I don't see why not if I can keep scoring goals, I'll back myself and I think I can score at any level. If I'm scoring then I feel on top of the world confidence wise.

"I want to keep on getting opportunities and I have to take them."