LUKE O’Nien helped Wanderers to a 3-0 opening day win over York City and then said – “I’m off to practice some more.”

The self confessed football nut, who can juggle a tennis ball with his feet more than a 1,000 times, planned to spend Sunday’s rest day in his nearest field brushing up on his technique.

It may not be a routine manager Gareth Ainsworth will be too happy with as he bids to keep his players fresh ahead of Tuesday’s Capital One Cup tie against Fulham, but it is just the kind of enthusiasm he loves and he has got that in spades in the midfielder he has signed from Watford.

After spending last season in the Conference South on loan with Wealdstone, O’Nien is determined to build on his first start for Wanderers.

He said: “I found out on Friday I was playing and it really helped playing alongside some of the experienced players who were giving me advice. I’m still learning and will always be learning.

“My dad Terry was a professional golfer so he knows what it takes to get to the top of the ladder. He practiced eight hours a day. To get to the top of any game you need to work. The more hours you put in the better you get.

“For example, tomorrow some people will be resting, but I will put some more hours in so I can gain an advantage on these people. I love the game and as a kid I wanted to play 24/7. If I wasn’t a professional I’d still be playing all day every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”

It is down to his dad though that Luke is such a whizz at keepy-uppy with the tennis ball.  

Luke said: “I started juggling with the tennis ball one Christmas a few years back. It was snowing and I couldn’t go out and play football so my dad told me to get a tennis ball and do it indoors. I thought it would be a bit difficult, but he set me a challenge to do ten on the right and I got that and then ten on the left and a couple of days later I got that. Then he said ‘get up to 100’.  I was doing it round the house, in the living room and in the kitchen. I don’t know that mum was too pleased because I’ve broken a few things in the house.

“When the snow cleared I was up to 100 and something, and I’ve kept it going since. I did it in the garden and got into four figures, but I had no witnesses for that so you are going to have to take my word for it, but I’m happy to do it again.”

Although the thousand isn’t recorded, there is YouTube evidence of O’Nien’s ball juggling skills and he holds the tennis ball juggling record up the road at Premiership Watford, smashing his old club’s previous record of 39 into oblivion with his jaw-dropping 478.

He said: “If anyone beats it I will be back. I was gutted when I dropped it with a lapse of concentration.

“I’ve done it with a golf ball before. I did 150 with a golf ball and I’ve got that on video as proof. I did it at Top Golf in Watford with my friend and then I booted the ball away. I don’t think you are going to get any smaller than a golf ball really.

“I always have a tennis ball with me, I’ve got two in my bag now. There is always a time when you need a ball and I don’t want to be without one because there is always a situation where you can practice.

 “It gives me extra confidence on the field and in matches because if you can control a tennis ball then a football is even easier, because it is so much larger. If my touch starts getting a bit heavy, I will go straight back on the tennis ball.

 “I just like playing football all the time. I always go through the game in my mind and think of the areas I can improve on and see what I need to be working on. All I need is a field and a ball and that will do me. If anyone comes along it’s a bonus, if not it’s just me.

“As long as I’m still fresh when Tuesday comes around I’m sure the gaffer won’t mind. “

And after making his league debut on Saturday,  O’Nien is looking forward to Tuesday’s home cup clash against Fulham.

He said: “As soon as the whistle goes we are going to get straight into them and ruffle a few feathers.

“I’ve never been in a cup run before apart from the U21s at Watford but I’ve never really thought that was proper football, then I was involved at Wealdstone last year in the FA Cup but that didn’t go too well for me, we conceded in the 95th minute and had to have a replay against Concord Rangers and I got sent off after ten minutes when the ball hit me on the hand on the line. Apart from that the only cup run I’ve been involved with was back at school in year 11 when we got to the district cup final and beat Tring in the final.”