Published: 06:00, 21 January 2021
| Updated: 09:54, 21 January 2021
Jaydn Mundle-Smith hopes mastering the physical side of non-league football with Maidstone will boost his first-team chances at Fulham.
Mundle-Smith, skipper of the London club’s under-23s, made his Stones debut in last weekend’s FA Trophy victory over Dorking after joining on loan for the rest of the season.
He was busy alongside George Elokobi in central defence before playing left-back in the midweek defeat by Braintree.
The 21-year-old has already been on a pre-season tour with the first team and, having been at Craven Cottage for almost nine years, he’d love to make the breakthrough.
Regular men’s football with the Stones will only help the young defender, who had a brief loan spell with Maidenhead last year.
“I captain the 23s so I’m doing well at Fulham,” said Mundle-Smith.
“They believe in me and I just go out there and perform.
“I’ve been there eight years, coming up nine.
“It’s a great set-up, we are a footballing side, we do that side of the game but coming here is the other side of the game.
“It’s more physical, more tackles, it’s a men’s game, so it’s always good to get that experience.
“It always helps because there are two sides to the game, the nice side and the ugly, dirty side.
“If you do all the right stuff, you’ll be ready for it.
“I’ve had conversations with Scott Parker, not so much this season, but last season I was involved a bit towards the start of the season, going away to Portugal and getting a few games.
"That was a great experience and hopefully more opportunities come about. It’s a great club, a big London club, and it’s always nice to be part of a set-up like that.”
Mundle-Smith knew about Maidstone after former Fulham team-mate Aron Davies had a spell on loan two seasons ago.
He became aware of interest from Hakan Hayrettin and was keen to get on board.
“Hakan has been interested for a while,” said Mundle-Smith.
“He got in touch with Fulham and my agent told me, and I came and had a chat.
“The club is heading in the right direction, he told me they want to get out of this league and I’m up for the challenge.
“I was aware of Maidstone. One of the boys who was at Fulham came here a couple of years ago so I was tapping into the games then to see how he was doing.”
Mundle-Smith is keen to learn from Stones skipper Elokobi who reached the Premier League with Wolves.
Be it advice on the pitch or off it, the Fulham man knows Elokobi can help him.
He said: “He’s a great player and I can learn off him, with me being young and him being very experienced.
“He’s played at the highest level consistently so it’s always good to partner someone like that.
“He’s given me a bit of advice off the pitch, and on the pitch he’s shown me bits and bobs about how the team play.”