Nathan Buddle on signing for UnitedDefender Nathan Buddle spoke to us about his move from Blyth Spartans shortly after putting pen to paper on Monday morning.
"I've waited a long time for this chance," he said. "I've been at Blyth for a season and a half and I've just been trying to work hard and get back into the professional game. I've been given my chance here and I'm really excited.
"I was gutted to come out of professional football but I knew if I wanted to carry on chasing my dream I had to work hard. That's why I went to Blyth. We did well last season and I've worked hard, and the FA Cup run we had this season helped me get noticed."
"They only train twice a week, which isn't ideal, but they pushed me to my limits while I was there. They gave me the belief that I could get back into the game. I think the path I've taken will make me more determined to do well.
"I've worked on a building site for the last 15 or 16 months so I'll treat this as a luxury," he commented. "I was self employed and the gaffer there has been really good with me while I've been on trial here. I gave him a call on Friday and told him the good news, and he said he hoped he didn't see me again!
"I'm going to make sure I stay in the game by working hard and hopefully cementing my place in the team. I think the FA Cup games will help me handle my debut in front of a big home crowd. We obviously played at Hartlepool, on the TV, then played against some very good professionals when we played Birmingham. When I do make my debut I don't think it will be as intimidating as it could have been."
"Blyth had a game last Monday, and the reserve game against Newcastle was on the Tuesday, but it isn't something you can say no to. When I found out the likes of De Jong, Gutierrez and Obertan were playing it was a no-brainer. It was brilliant to play against Premier League players because it's good to see where you are against them."
"For Keith Curle to say I've got something, after he did so well in the game, is a great confidence boost," he admitted. "The fact he played for England and was a centre back means I've got so much to learn from him. Whatever knowledge he can pass down to me will only be a positive.
"I watched the game on Saturday and Steven Rigg played well and he's scored a few goals," he told us. "It's good to see that because it shows the manager will give you a chance.
"The manager has told me to get my head down and work hard. He said he'll be disappointed in himself, and in me, if I don't play before the end of the season. If I work hard he's said there is no reason why I shouldn't be playing."
"I know I've still got a lot to learn. I need to improve my sharpness and fitness because it's totally different in the professional game. The manager is a brilliant person to have in charge and everything he tells me will benefit me.
"I've already sat down with Lee [Fearn] to put a programme in place to help me kick on as much as possible. I'll spend as much time here trying to improve myself so if I am needed the manager knows I'm ready."
"I've learned a lot about myself during my time out of the professional game," he revealed. "I was told that when you get released it can go one of two ways.
"I had quite a good season last year and I ended up playing for England C in a representative game, which was a massive high," he said. "I still wasn’t getting any luck with trials so you start to wonder if anybody is ever going to notice you.
"I think it helped that Pottsy [Brad Potts] was here because I've known him for a while. I was comfortable straight away and I prepared as best I could. It all went well, I was invited back, and here we are."
"The lads were brilliant with me as soon as I came in. Billy [Paynter] was telling people he was my agent last week so they've really helped with settling in. I've played a few games with the lads, I knew Sweens [Antony Sweeney] and Charlie [Wyke] from Hartlepool, and I've spoken to everyone in the dressing room over the last few weeks. It's a really top group of lads."