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INTERVIEW: Over the moon

3 February 2015

Nathan Buddle on signing for United

Defender 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." 

"I owe Blyth a lot," he told us. "I went there and they didn't know a lot about me, because I hadn't played first team football. They gave me my chance in man's football and thankfully I took it with both hands. 

"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. 

"When I spoke to the manager I told him the one thing that sticks in my mind is that I didn't play a game in professional football, so the hunger is definitely there." 

"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."

On how the move to Carlisle came about, he said: "I played a couple of games on trial towards the end of last year and I've trained with the team for a couple of weeks. I think the manager watched me in the FA Cup and we were obviously on the TV against Hartlepool. 

"I got a text last week asking me to play in a reserve game against Newcastle. I sat down with the manager after that and he said he liked me and thought there was something there, which is the news I've wanted for a long time.

"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. 

"This is the ideal club for me location wise. I've had a couple of trials at other clubs but, when I found out Carlisle were interested, I always wanted to be here. Carlisle were the first team to offer me a contract and I'm absolutely over the moon." 

"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. 

"I've played with people and you look at them and you can't believe they aren't in the professional game. I'm sure Ste will be the same as me. He'll be so hungry to play in this league and you get that extra desire to stay in the game.

"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." 

Looking back at his career so far, he said: "I did my two year scholarship with Hartlepool then I had one year as a pro. We did well in the reserves during that season, beating teams like Hull and Middlesbrough, but the first team were struggling. 

"I think the manager wasn't prepared to take a risk and give the younger lads a chance. At the end of the season the manager ended up getting sacked and we didn't really know who was going to release the players. I think the fact I hadn't featured for the first team was the main factor for me. Towards the end of that season with Hartlepool I knew I wasn't going to get a chance, so when I went to Blyth I had a massive point to prove.

"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've seen people slump out of the game and go into the Northern League for money. They end up going out every weekend and things like that. Blyth were two leagues higher than the Northern League at the time and I wanted to play as high as I could. I found in myself that I had the mental attitude to not give up.

"I said when I got released from Hartlepool I was going to work hard and make sure it wasn't the end for me. It's been a long process but it's paid off."

But the central defender admitted that he had been through some dark days on the road back to league football. 

"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. 

"You do start to doubt yourself but I ended up changing my agent and that helped me massively. There were clubs watching me and now I've got my break here. As soon as the manager invited me to play the first trial game I told myself I needed to prepare like I do for every game for Blyth. 

"I tried not to think about the occasion and just play the game. I knew if I came here, and looked anxious or nervous, then I could throw away the opportunity within the first ten minutes of the game.

"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."

And on the Carlisle offer, he said: "I got the offer last Friday and I just wanted to sign it straight away. I hoped it could be sorted on Saturday morning but I'm just happy it's all done now. It's a massive relief and I just can't wait to get started. 

"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." 

United Player subscribers can see a video interview with Nathan Buddle now. Click HERE to go to the Player platform. Follow the same link for more information on United Player, and to subscribe.

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