After signing an extension to his Liverpool contract on Tuesday, Kevin Stewart shared his delight with Liverpoolfc.com and discussed a whirlwind year and his aims for the future - read on for a full transcript below...
Kevin, congratulations on your new deal, just what does this mean to you?
It gives me more confidence, it shows [the club] believes in me and believe that I could go on to become a good player for them. It has just given me confidence in myself and the security [I have] time to prove myself and get better with good coaches and good players.
I remember you coming on at right-back in a pre-season game in Scandanavia and you've gone from there, through the Academy, into the first team and into midfield - sum up the last year or two.
It's been exciting, there have been a lot of disappointments, but all-in-all it's been great. I've really enjoyed the battle and the challenges that have come from changing positions, learning a new position, and doing it with Michael Beale, Alex Inglethorpe and all the coaches. I've found it really exciting.
So are your full-back days finished? Are you a central midfielder now?
I enjoy it more than full-back now, always [being] in the action, it's more of a battle and you see more of the ball. But I wouldn't write off playing as a full-back, I like to think of myself as someone who can play as both when needed. I want to be seen as a midfielder first who can play full-back.
You've been involved in the first team recently and got a lot of positive feedback - what did that do for you and what do you think you learned in those games?
It took me until the age of 22 to make my debut and all those years I was just wondering what it'd be like, how difficult it would be, and if I'd cope playing in front of so many fans against Premier League players. It's maybe just relaxed my mind a little bit. Okay, I've not played too many [games] but just getting there and playing against [big] teams and in the Premier League has calmed my mind.
Now you've played against these Premier League players, does it make things easier for you?
I like to believe so but I think I'll still learn a lot more if I end up playing a few more games. I've not learnt fully what it's about but I've got a little taste and I believe I can push on and maybe play more and deal with it well.
You're obviously still learning that midfield postion, so who are you looking at in the squad and learning from?
I look at all of them - the ones who play more forward, the ones who are deep - and see how they play. I remember being on the bench in the Aston Villa game and watching them all to see what they were doing in the game and where they were finding space so if I had the chance to come on I could adapt to it really quickly. But I wouldn't say [I'm watching] anyone specifically.
Is the timing of your injury more frustrating because you were doing so well or are you a little bit more relaxed because you've already had the opportunities to show what you can do?
It's a bit of both but I think I'd be more frustrated if it had happened beforehand because that opportunity might not have come again. At least I've had the opportunity and I've done it. If I'd ended up [getting the injury] before I played the games I'd be more frustrated but I feel like I've bought myself a little bit more time. Beforehand I would've been pulling my hair out.
As well as getting back to fitness, what are your goals now?
I'm not looking too far into the future, really. I just want to get back as soon as possible, recover quickly and get my fitness back up to where it was in a short space of time. I'm just focused on that at the minute because I'll get too excited if I look too far into the future!