It’s been an extraordinary few weeks for Travis Hernes.
Following a string of impressive performances in pre-season, the 17-year-old made his League One debut during our opening-day win over Cheltenham.
Travis was still a scholar at the time. But two days later he put pen to paper on his first professional contract.
And two days after that he was starting in front of 35,000 fans at Elland Road – with the teenager part of an excellent team performance that saw us push Leeds in the cup.
It really has been a rapid rise for the youngster who was born in Norway but moved to England when he was 14.
He, though, is loving being part of Matt Taylor’s squad and pushing to be playing first-team football each week.
“I feel so blessed to be at this football club and for the opportunity they have given me,” he said.
“Both the gaffer and (director of football) Micky Moore have made it clear there is a pathway for me here.
“Both of them have told me if I am good enough to play and good enough to start then I will.
“It’s not about age with them, it’s about being good enough.
“There is a huge opportunity for me here – I just have to take it.
“So far I feel I have done okay. A lot has changed for me over the past few months and training with the first team is obviously different to training with the academy – but I feel like I have adapted well.
“And to then make my league debut against Cheltenham was a really good experience.
“It was a really intense game because when I came on we were trying to see it out.
“But I really enjoyed it, especially at the end and when we knew we had the points.
“Everyone wants to win that first game of the season so I was happy for all the lads and the staff as well. It’s a new staff here so I’m sure they really wanted to win that first game as well.”
Travis is no stranger to impressive debuts.
His first Town appearance actually arrived last season – with the midfielder facing his former club Wolves in the EFL Trophy.
And Travis marked the occasion with a spectacular goal that saw him find the bottom corner from just outside the box.
“I lived in Norway for 14 years – I played a lot of Futsal there before we moved over here,” the midfielder continued.
“I was with Wolves but got released just before COVID. Then I came to Shrewsbury and have been here ever since.
“To then face Wolves on my debut last season was incredible. I didn’t actually think I was going to get on the pitch that day.
“But I felt confident going into the game, (former academy director) David Longwell spoke to me before I went on and just told me to do my best. He has been a big part of my development.
“To score on my debut though felt amazing – it's what people dream about!”
Hernes is from a footballing family with his brother Trace playing for Aalesund in the top tier of Norwegian football.
And he said Trace was delighted for him when he heard he’d signed his first professional deal with Town.
“My brother plays for a team called Aalesund in Norway – they are in the top division,” Travis revealed.
“He is a right-back. I speak to him every day. We do talk about football; he has a lot of knowledge and is always on hand to help me.
“But he is also my brother, so we normally talk about family things.
“He was buzzing when I signed my pro deal. He had a feeling it was going to happen but obviously in football you just never know. But he is really happy for me.”
Alongside his brother, there are plenty of players at Town who Travis can turn to for advice and guidance.
For most 17-year-olds, being part of a dressing room full of experienced professionals would be daunting.
But Travis says all the Town players make him feel comfortable.
“It’s just really fun being part of our dressing room,” the teenager said with a smile.
“Everyone is really welcoming and we have a little game we play called Wolf.
“It’s a game with lots of different characters, you’re either a doctor, a witch or something else. It's a tactical game that really makes you think but it is a lot of fun.
“We have a laugh but at the same time everyone here wants to win and they’ll all do whatever they can to help me in games and in training.
“I’ve become close with Nohan (Kenneh). We kind of play in the same position so it’s nice to be close with him.
“Whenever I need help, he knows what to tell me because of his experience.
“He gives me advice and Elliott Bennett is also someone who goes out of his way to help me.
“He is very vocal and has got a lot of experience. He has played in the Premier League so he’s a great person to learn from.”
As well as making his Shrewsbury debut last season, Travis also made his international bow when he was called up by Norway under-18s.
“That was another brilliant experience,” he added.
“When I was in Norway I always wanted to play for the national team. So, for it to happen was amazing and was another goal ticked off.”