Meet the Boreham Wood hero who worked on the building site and is now shaping the game on Dani Alves

Boreham Wood star Jacob Mendy offers to inspire non-leaguers to another FA Cup clash when they tangle with Everton at Goodison Park on Thursday night

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Antonio Conte on the FA Cup

The magic of the FA Cup has faded in recent years – but that hasn’t stopped the world’s most famous competition from conjuring up another fairy tale this season.

Like so many non-Championship sides before them, Boreham Wood left the nation spellbound with their stunning run to the fifth round.

The National League side have already blown away AFC Wimbledon and Bournemouth to book a dream date against Everton.

While the FA Cup has regularly staged David v Goliath battles over the years, this is a new experience for Boreham Wood star man Jacob Mendy.

And he revels in the fairy tale ride that has seen Boreham Wood thrust into the public eye.

“I’m only experiencing the magic of the FA Cup this season – I’ve never been this far before,” said Mendy Football Mirror .

“Coming from another country, to know what this competition means, you have to live it.

Join the debate! What do you think is the greatest FA Cup fairy tale of all time? Let us know here.

Jacob Mendy hopes Boreham Wood can upset Everton in their FA Cup fifth round draw


James Marsh/REX/Shutterstock)

“I’ve never had this feeling before; nothing compares to the experiences I’ve had this season coming from where I’m from where I’ve worked hard.

“To go this far and play against Bournemouth and now Everton… it’s like a trophy for me.”

For Mendy, life has changed since that famous night on the south coast.

He revealed he struggled to sleep the night after killing Bournemouth and his DMs ‘blew up’ – with world-renowned football journalist Guillem Balague even getting in touch to chat.

But those sleepless nights are a far cry from those Mendy endured a year ago, where he was tearing himself apart to survive at the foot of the National League with Wealdstone.

During his time at the semi-pro club, Mendy also worked on a construction site to make ends meet while pursuing his dream of becoming a full-time footballer.

When you take into account that Mendy was also studying for a business management degree, it gives some insight into the grueling work the 25-year-old put in to achieve his dream of becoming a professional footballer. one that was finally made when it was picked up by Boreham Wood last summer.

“A year ago I didn’t know where I was going. We were fighting relegation and our main objective was to stay in the division. I couldn’t imagine that this year I would be playing against Everton in the FA Cup.”

Even before his starring role in Boreham Wood’s iconic 1-0 win over Bournemouth, Mendy’s story is one that epitomizes everything the FA Cup is all about.

Aged 17, Mendy spent a year at Atletico Madrid’s academy after initially spurning their interest during his time in Spain.

Mendy played key role in wins over AFC Wimbledon and Bournemouth



That loyalty was rewarded after the Spanish giants returned for Mendy at the end of the season.

After his time in Spain ended, Mendy had stints at Shoreham, Redhill and Carshalton Athletic before his time at Wealdstone led to his big break with Boreham Wood.

Mendy has turned down league interest to join the ambitious Meadow Park project, with the Hertfordshire side currently vying for historic promotion to the EFL.

The Woods are currently third in the National League, eight points behind leaders Stockport with three games less following their FA Cup exploits – meaning they can effectively fight their way to the top of the table if they do. they win all three.

Luke Garrard is the man currently leading their bid to become a football league club for the first time.

And although Mendy has played as both a winger and a full-back during his career, it is Garrard who is tasked with pushing Mendy into the modern full-back slot he has thrived in for the non-leagues this season.

While the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joao Cancelo who made the position one of the most important in the Premier League with their swashbuckling style, Mendy credits an old-school name with the inspiration of his love for the position.

“Definitely Dani Alves. When I started playing as a full-back, it was when Dani Alves was at Barcelona in his prime. So I looked up to him and Eric Abidal, but I was more like Alves.

“I love going up and down, attacking and defending, doing both. I loved watching him play – he was such a smart player. He was the modern winger before it became a thing.

“I like to be an outlet for the team. I look to grab the ball and get past people to create chances, but I also like to defend.”

Mendy cites Dani Alves as one of his biggest inspirations


Jasper Juneen)

Boreham Wood already made history during this year’s superb cup campaign – reaching the fourth round of the cup was a feat never before achieved by the club.

There’s no doubt that promotion is still the primary mission of a side that have been overweight all season – but that doesn’t mean Everton will get away with it lightly.

“Our mentality has not changed. We are a team that takes things game by game, we only focus on the next team because it is the biggest game of the season so far. This approach has led us so far in the league and the cup.

“We have this belief. We know it will be even more difficult, but you always have to believe in it. We believe in ourselves, we are a very compact team, we defend well and we are good at counter-attacking, so we believe that we can hurt them.”

Mendy is expected to be roared by 25 rowdy family and friends at Goodison Park – double the amount that supported him at Vitality Stadium.

The £20,000 fee Boreham Wood forked out to lure Mendy away from their National League rivals is a club record – but it’s just a drop in the ocean for the expensively assembled list of superstars of which Frank Lampard currently boasts; not that that deters Mendy.

Boreham Wood makes a bid to claim another big scalp at Goodison Park


David Horton – Camera Sport)

He adds: “I’m the most expensive signing, but my fee was nowhere near the kind of money they spend. I think my fee would maybe pay a weekly salary for some of their players!”

“I can’t wait to test myself personally against a Premier League team with very good players.

“Playing against top players like Dele Alli, Theo Walcott and Richarlison will help me see where my level is. I want to test myself and see where I am because obviously I would love to play in the Premier League one day.

“It will be interesting to see how defending against top players one-on-one plays out. Playing against really, really good players can only help me improve at the end of the day.

“Things like this can only happen once in a footballing career – so whatever happens, I’m happy to have a story to share with my children in the future.”

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