Louis Moult: The Stokie Tearing Up Scotland
It was the 119th minute when Louis Moult slalomed through the Coventry defence to net a winner for Stoke in the FA Youth Cup.
The goal was a piece of magic and worthy of winning any match.
Eight years on, and the boy that scored that goal has blossomed into a fine man.
Now at Motherwell, Moult is one of the main men in the Scottish Premiership.
He’s already demonstrated that last season’s tally of 18 goals was no flash in the pan. He walloped four past Hamilton last month- the crowning glory of seven in three matches for the 24-year-old Stokie.
Moult, of course, is one of just three teenagers to have played in the Premier League for Stoke and his 15 minute cameo against Burnley in 2010 was a moment he’ll never forget.
“It was a proud moment for me. Being from Stoke- my whole family support Stoke- it was massive for me and massive for my family. I just wish it would have gone in a different direction, looking back.”
He remained Stoke’s youngest Premier League player until Ollie Shenton came on against Manchester City a couple of years ago. “I remember when Ollie made his debut and I thought “right, that’s the end of my record.” I was gutted!”
Having always had a competitive streak, he was booked on his first-team bow at Leyton Orient and followed that up with a substitute appearance against Portsmouth- both in the League Cup. Moult looks back on that breakthrough campaign with fond memories.
“The season I broke through I really enjoyed it. I was on the bench 11 times I think and made a few appearances- two in the cup and one in the Premier League. The following season the gaffer brought in a few players- Kenwyne Jones, Jon Walters and Eidur Gudjohnsen.
“When you look at that there was only one place for me to go. The gaffer at the time said he thought it would be good experience for me to go to Bradford.”
The Bradford experience didn’t work out, with Moult netting once in 15 appearances.
“I didn’t really enjoy it. I was playing out of position quite a lot. Looking back, I was probably too young and too weak, but it was a learning curve- off the field as well. I might not be sitting here now if it wasn’t for that experience, you never know.”
The gaffer who shipped him out was Tony Pulis- a man who was generally reluctant to give youth a chance.
“I’m very grateful for having the opportunity under Tony Pulis. There weren’t a great deal of youngsters that were given the opportunity so it was a surprise for me. But one that I took with both hands and I loved every minute of it.”
More loan moves followed, and it could have been a different story at Stoke were it not for an unfortunate injury picked up during one of Moult’s many temporary spells away.
“I ended up going to Mansfield but got injured when I was on a good run. I’d scored two in three, but got injured in the third match, I was out for about eight months with a stress fracture of my back. It was quite a serious one.
“That was a wasted bit of time, but luckily I had a two-year deal and I was fit for the second year as a pro. I just couldn’t pick up the form that I left with. I made a couple of appearances on loan with different clubs but couldn’t really settle. I ended up being released and went to Northampton.”
Having failed to become a regular at Northampton- “I wasn’t quite ready,” admits Moult- he ended up dropping down into the National League, signing for Nuneaton before moving on to Wrexham.
“It’s probably the best thing I ever did,” says Moult about playing at a lower level.
A solitary season at the Racecourse Ground saw Moult hit the back of the net 22 times, and that form prompted Motherwell to come calling.
“It was scary. I was on holiday at the time and I had a couple of missed calls. I ended up listening to my voicemails and my agent said “Motherwell have made a bid for you.” My missus was there and she said “What?!” I think she was more scared than me!” says Moult.
“But we grabbed it with both hands and I’m enjoying my time up here. Dropping down a division to Wrexham gave me lots of confidence and coming up to Scotland I was thriving off it. I was buzzing. I couldn’t wait to play and score goals,” Moult told me in the players lounge at Fir Park.
“Once you get into the rhythm of scoring goals you always believe you’ll score, no matter what level. That’s my mindset. I’m confident, but I’m not over confident and I’m not shy. I think it’s a good way to be. I think you have to be in the middle. Especially as a striker, you have to back yourself.
“I’ve missed a couple of chances tonight but I still back myself to score on Saturday.”
The match Moult is referring to was a surprising 3-0 reverse at home to Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Moult did have the ball in the back of the net once, breaking away from our chat to check with the club’s media official as to whether it was offside. “Touch and go” was the response. The anguish on Moult’s face was clear to see.
That disallowed goal means Moult has now gone four matches without a strike- a drought by his high standards.
But, despite the disappointment, Moult went out of his way to accommodate me at full-time. And his final words as he dropped me off at the train station were “have some oatcakes for me!”
The boy from Stoke done good.
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