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Interviews

In Depth | Jack Hinchy

21 February 2024

Interviews

In Depth | Jack Hinchy

21 February 2024

Jack Hinchy has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the ranks of English football since leaving school five years ago.

The 21-year-old, who celebrated his birthday the day before joining Salop on loan until the end of the season, is highly rated at parent club Brighton and Hove Albion.

But as he left school and began looking at his next steps, Jack certainly wasn’t expecting them to lead to life as a professional footballer!

“I’d just finished school and I didn’t have a scholarship,” Hinchy explained, “so I went to Stockport to do their college course.  

“It was crazy. I just went into the college system and did well in my first season there.  

“Then in my second season, I got called up to train with the first team. They offered me a professional contract and then it just spiralled from there!  

“A year after being a 17-year-old lad without a scholarship, I had what is to-date the best moment of my career when I came on for the last 10-15 minutes of the FA Cup game against West Ham!  

“It was an amazing feeling. I used to get compared to Declan Rice a bit before that so to play against him in the game was also a good moment. He’s the biggest name I’ve played against, but hopefully, there are more to come!  

“It was a proud one for me and the family."  

Jack was then signed by Premier League Brighton at the age of 18 and has since gone on to play for the first team in the Carabao Cup, FA Cup and feature in two of the Seagulls’ Europa League squads.  

And after two-and-a-half years on the south coast, it’s fair to say he’s thoroughly enjoying living in the area.  

“Right now, I’m staying in a place called Portslade which is right in between the training ground in Lancing and the stadium on the other side of the city.   

“I’ve moved around in my life a few times already so settling in wasn’t a problem.  

“I lived in Lancing in the club houses for the first year. Then one of the older lads got a flat and rented it out when he went on loan, so I think that was a bit better for me.  

“It was also better for my partner who I live with. It’s closer to Brighton for her, more job opportunities for her and stuff like that.  

“She’s from Manchester too so she’s happy that I’ve come on loan here because it’s so much closer to home for her.  

“I grew up in Telford when I was younger, so I’ve got a bit of familiarity with the place and the surrounding area." 

Most Town fans got their first glimpse of Jack when he entered the fray against Cambridge a few days ago, but it wasn’t the first time he’d played on the Croud Meadow turf this season.  

As captain of Brighton’s under-21s, Hinchy led his side out against Salop in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy back in September.  

He then led his side out against five more EFL teams as the Young Seagulls went all the way to the quarter-finals of the competition, beating Walsall, Forest Green Rovers, MK Dons and Reading before eventually coming unstuck against Wycombe Wanderers.  

“I think it was a good game,” Jack said as he reminisced about the clash with Salop. We as an under-21s side had a good game and I think I had a good game too personally. 

“It’s something you don’t get in the under-21s league. The physicality of the games is something I’ll learn even more in my time here so I’m looking forward to it.  

“I think it’s something I need at this stage of my career. I think it’s a great club, so I’m just happy to be here.”  

It’s not just under-21s football that Jack has been exposed to at Brighton.  

He trains with the first team regularly throughout the week and has travelled around the country and to Athens with the senior players too.  

“I think being around the manager, some of the more experienced players and having those standards in training stands you in good stead in any football career,” Hinchy explained.  

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“I think Pascal GroB is the best player at helping me. We play in a similar position, so I think he’s been the most useful with me and we get on well too. He gives the best advice.”  

But of course, it’s not just players guiding Jack through this stage of his career, with the youngster full of praise for the club’s manager, Roberto Di Zerbi.  

“He’s been brilliant. He’s great with the young players and gives opportunities when he can.  

“He won’t treat you any different to anyone. His standards are high and no matter who you are he expects the highest standards of quality and dedication from you even if you’re an under-21.  

“I’m expected to go into their sessions and act like a regular first-team player.”  

And it’s fair to say Jack has impressed having been a part of Brighton’s historic – and still developing – Europa League campaign, featuring in the squad for their trip to face AEK Athens and their match at home to Olympique Marseille.  

“I think in some ways the European games are completely different because it’s in another country. The travelling, everything is on telly, you get to play in Europe; it’s a dream.  

“We flew out to Athens on the morning of the day before, we landed in the afternoon and trained in the evening 24 hours before the game.  

“Then it was the normal matchday routine of being in the hotel the night before and then going to the game in the evening.  

“It was a mad atmosphere! You've seen what the fans are like in Athens.  

“The noise was incredible. You could barely hear the person on the bench next to you."

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“Even the home game against Marseille was unbelievable.  

“I think because of the occasion, because it was the first time we’d got through, the first time we’d topped the group and gone straight into the round of 16 rather than playing the round of 32 ties, I think the atmosphere, especially because we scored late, was unreal.”  

Having impressed at Brighton, Hinchy must now continue to impress Paul Hurst as he looks to secure his spot in the Salop starting XI.  

The boss was full of praise for Jack after he signed, saying: “Jack’s a very mature individual and plays with that maturity. He knows the game very well and I think you can see that in how he plays.   

“I think he’s just very intelligent, that’s the biggest thing.  

“We want good people. Of course, they’ve got to be able to play football as well, but he fits that profile that we’re looking for.” 

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