Teenage attacker Ethan Walker says he is desperate to impress at Carlisle United – and repay Chris Beech’s faith.

The Preston forward said he had no hesitation in heading to Cumbria for a taste of first-team football.

The young loan man, who has joined for the season, made his debut against Cambridge and is hoping to help the Blues to a better outcome in Saturday’s home clash with Southend.

It has been a whirlwind few days for the 18-year-old prospect who is keen to make the most of his chance in League Two.

“It all happened so quickly and I found out last Wednesday that the manager here wanted to speak to me,” he said.

“I met him on Thursday and then went down to Cambridge on Friday.

“As soon as I met him I knew what his targets were and what he was looking for and I’m glad he’s taken me on.

“Hopefully I can show him it was the right decision.”

Walker caught the eye with a positive display when he came off the bench in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at the Abbey Stadium.

News and Star: Walker replaced Lewis Alessandra in the second half at Cambridge (photo: Richard Parkes)Walker replaced Lewis Alessandra in the second half at Cambridge (photo: Richard Parkes)

He has been drafted in to cover the loss to injury of summer signing Brennan Dickenson, and Walker is confident he can take his opportunity with the Blues.

“The squad is so big at Preston that it can get a bit frustrating at times because you just want to be playing football,” he said.

“As soon as I found out Carlisle wanted me it was a massive confidence boost because it means I’ve now got the chance to come here and show everybody that I’m more than capable and I can do it.

“I didn’t mind which club the loan was at, I just want to play football.

"I just want to keep improving. I know that I’ve improved over the last two years, whether that’s been training with the first team or playing behind closed doors games, and I feel like this is the next step for me and will improve me as a player and a person.”

Walker has come through the youth ranks at North End and his switch to Carlisle comes after he figured for the Deepdale club’s first team in pre-season, including a friendly against a star-studded Everton side.

He had previously been on loan with non-league Altrincham – while he has a place in Preston’s history books as their youngest-ever first-team player after making his debut aged 16 against Aston Villa in 2018.

He added: “This is my first loan in league football, which is something I’m very excited about.

“I’ve been out on two previous loans, but not to this standard of football. I’m quite excited about showing people what I can do.

“[The manager and staff at Preston] just want me to enjoy it and be ready. They want me to get experience of being with a league football club where everything matters.

“Hopefully if I do well here and show them that I am capable of coping with it then maybe I’ll get my chance when I go back there.”

On his record-breaking status at Preston, he added: “It’s a massive record to hold, with how old the club is and how big the club is, so it’s something I think about quite a lot.

“Preston is my home club and I’ve supported them since I was really young, so it’s a massive thing for me. I’m glad I’ve got all the support I get from Preston because it gives me a huge amount of confidence.

“The manager there [Alex Neil] speaks to me a lot. He’s a very good manager and he tries to advise on everything, with touches or mistakes I’ve made.

“Even with the players, you can just tell the difference in level. From the youth team standard to the first team, the difference is massive. There are some really good players there and you learn a little bit more about the game every time you’re with them.

“They show you how intense it can be and how quick it can be, and you gain even more confidence from doing what they do with them. Learning from people like that will only benefit you even more.”

Walker says he wants to bring an exciting style of play to Carlisle, and chip in with goals.

He added: “The manager [Chris Beech] told me that he wants me to do my thing. He wants me to excite the fans, try to get goals and assists and work hard, not just for me but for the team.

“I want to help the team to improve this season, if I can, and I want the same for myself.

“Mostly I’m a team player and I’m hoping we have a good season as a group.

“That’s what I want to bring if I can – goals, assists, whatever it is, I just want the team to do well. I want us to be winning each week and I want us to progress as a team.

“It’s a young team, and it’s still coming together, but hopefully we’ll see the results coming in as each week goes by.”

Walker says he had been welcomed by his new team-mates, with United’s squad including one familiar face in former Preston defender Jack Armer, who joined the Cumbrians this summer.

“I played in the youth team with Jack so that was another boost coming here,” he said. “It means I’ve got somebody I already know to talk to and help settle me in and feel at home.”

Walker, who is right-footed but often plays on the left and can operate across the front line, also can’t wait to play on the smooth playing surface at Brunton Park.

This weekend's game will also see up to 1,000 home fans back at the ground after Brunton Park was chosen as a test game.

He said: “The pitch here is amazing – honestly, I didn’t think League Two pitches were like this but I’m really looking forward to playing on it.

“It’s exciting. When you play youth games you don’t get many people watching, so playing in front of fans will be another exciting step for me because I’ve never had that yet.

“I’ll enjoy it and make sure I take it all in when the fans are allowed back in.”