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Sam Woods hoping to use Hamilton loan as stepping stone

:Headline: Sam Woods hoping to use Hamilton loan as stepping stone:
The 21-year-old centre-back has made three cup appearances for parent club Crystal Palace.
PA | 1mo

Sam Woods feels testing himself in Scotland's top flight is the next step he needs in his career after learning from experienced internationals at Crystal Palace.

The 21-year-old joined Hamilton on loan this week and could make his debut against Livingston in the Ladbrokes Premiership on Saturday.

The centre-back thought carefully about his next step and some advice from Palace team-mate and former Hamilton favourite James McArthur consolidated his instincts.

"I could have stayed down south and played League One or League Two but I feel if I come up here I will really test myself, playing against Celtic, Rangers, Hibs, Motherwell, good clubs," Woods said.

"Macca said that it would be a good start for me so that made my mind up."

Woods, who has made three first-team appearances for Palace in cup competitions, added: "I have been training with top, top professionals for two years now. What I need now is to play games and experience first-team football because you can't really get that in reserve games.

"I can see how people get comfortable being in and around a Premier League club, good facilities, good food, everything is done for you. But what I really wanted was to push myself and to do that I have got to play games. I couldn't really see that at Palace with the experience and quality they've got in defence.

"When you're at a Premier League club, if you check the stats, it's very rare that you can break straight through. You can't just go from 23s to first team, it's very hard. Hopefully I can start here, find my level and make my career."

Woods has recently been a regular on the bench for Roy Hodgson's team and believes the environment has helped his progression so far.

"When you are training against guys like (Christian) Benteke, Wilf (Zaha), Jordan Ayew, you are testing yourself every day in training, and that can only make me a better player over the last year or so, but I feel the next step now is to play games.

"Even the defenders as well. Gary Cahill came in the summer, Martin Kelly, Scott Dann, James Tomkins, great pros with great experience and they are always giving me little hints in training like body shape, stuff that you can't really get unless you are with these guys. Invaluable experience and hopefully I can take that into the games."

Woods also got a recommendation from another former Accies player, James McCarthy, who was recently reunited with McArthur in south London.

"They say it's a great club and Macca (McArthur) said he's a legend round here," Woods said. "Everyone has been very welcoming as they said it would be. There is a real family feel to the club and it's been a great first couple of days."

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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool27261064174779
2Manchester CityMan City27183668293957
3Leicester CityLeicester27155754272750
4Chelsea2713594537844
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd27118841291241
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs2711794436840
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd27101072925440
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2791263832639
9Arsenal2781363936337
10Burnley27114123339-637
11Everton27106113641-536
12Southampton27104133448-1434
13Crystal Palace2789102432-833
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2787122441-1731
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton27610113239-728
16Bournemouth2775152643-1726
17Aston Villa2774163452-1825
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham2766153248-1624
19Watford2759132443-1924
20Norwich CityNorwich2746172451-2718
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool27261064174779
2Manchester CityMan City27183668293957
3Leicester CityLeicester27155754272750
4Chelsea2713594537844
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd27118841291241
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs2711794436840
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd27101072925440
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2791263832639
9Arsenal2781363936337
10Burnley27114123339-637
11Everton27106113641-536
12Southampton27104133448-1434
13Crystal Palace2789102432-833
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2787122441-1731
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton27610113239-728
16Bournemouth2775152643-1726
17Aston Villa2774163452-1825
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham2766153248-1624
19Watford2759132443-1924
20Norwich CityNorwich2746172451-2718
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