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Interviews

MANAGER: He's enjoying this football club

Keith Curle on Clint Hill

25 November 2017

We spoke to manager Keith Curle shortly after he had secured the services of defender Clint Hill until the end of the season.

“Clint has come into the football club and integrated himself very well,” he said. “Not only in how he plays, but with his personality and his professionalism and the high standards he’s had throughout his career.

"He hasn’t changed as an individual from when he was winning the Championship with QPR, or battling to get into the play-offs with Crystal Palace when I worked with him previously. He’s kept his standards very high. He’s a fit lad and the best thing for me is that he’s enjoying this football club." 

“Age is just a number and there is a pathway into this football club which is based on ability," he added. "Whether you’re a 16-year-old scholar or a more experienced player like Clint, if you’ve got skillsets I think I can use then age is immaterial." 

“I think we’d be something like second in the table if the season had started when Clint came in, and that isn’t a coincidence," he told us. "He’s brought his experience and he’s a character other people can relate to, both on the pitch and off it. He makes the game very simple and he keeps his role within the team very simple. 

“He’s a natural competitor and that was one of the attributes I saw when I went to scout him for Neil Warnock when he was playing for the reserve team at Stoke. He was a player who wasn’t playing first team games, but you could see the enthusiasm he had for the game, even in a reserve game.

"He hasn’t changed at all since we signed him back then. He’s very determined and a very good competitor on the pitch. People said then that he didn’t have legs, and I think he’s quicker now than he was then!" 

“He’s enjoying the football club and he’s developing the partnerships and roles within the group," he continued. "I’ve got no worries about any of the defensive partnerships, whether that’s with Gary Liddle, Tom Parkes, Danny Grainger or any of the other defenders.

"He adheres to basic defending principles and he encourages other people to do the same. He’s a good communicator and a good team mate.

“When he first came in we wanted to make sure everything was a fit for us and for Clint. He wanted to make sure he was happy with the travelling, because of where we are location wise and the time spent away from his family.

"He needed that to suit him and it needed to fit in with how he wanted to play his football and maintain a high level of performance." 

“The training regime for Clint is slightly different to other players because I don’t need him to be doing possession sessions every day of the week," he said. "I afford him a little bit of time off, but I can guarantee you that when Clint is away from the football club, he’s still got a professional head on.

“I think because of how he plays and how he conducts himself the fans are enjoying watching him play. He’s a competitor and one thing I know is Carlisle United supporters want their team to be competitive. He embodies that.

“Reliability, consistency and dependability are some of the things people will have heard me say about players’ performances and I think Clint ticks those boxes on a regular basis.”

And on the coaching duties the player can expect to pick up going forward, he said: "This is a good opportunity for me to help an emerging coach, because I'm effectively a coach and not a trainer once we get onto the grass.

"He'll help out with some of our development players and we'll get him doing other coaches duties as well. He'll get regular feedback on any sessions he does and that should help him to fine tune his delivery and methods.

"I know coaching is something he enjoys and it will be good to work with him on that as we go forward from here."

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