United manager Keith Curle spoke to us about the signing of experienced defender Clint Hill ahead of the Thursday afternoon training session.
“I think it’s good for the club that we’ve got it over the line and it shows that we’re still looking in the right areas to improve,” he said. “He’s a player who has vast experience, having played at the highest levels, and he has good standards as an individual and as a professional.
“I’ve worked with Clint at Crystal Palace and at QPR and we had very good success at both clubs. I first scouted him when he was playing for Stoke Reserves, when myself and Neil Warnock first went in to Crystal Palace, and he was a player who stood out.
“We brought him in and he was a pleasure to work with. He brought maturity to the football club in everything he did and he’s a very combative figure who won’t step back from a challenge. He has an excellent left foot with good distribution and he has a fantastic understanding of the game.”
“There are people who could question his age, but that’s just a number if you’ve looked after yourself,” he commented. “I was lucky enough to play until I was 40 and I found it relatively easier when I dropped down the levels. The one thing you need to do is maintain your standards as an individual, and I know Clint does that.
“It comes down to good decision making, picking the right options at the right times and knowing the roles and responsibilities. I think the lads will enjoy working with him and learning from him as they play alongside him.
“He has a mental approach which makes him a real asset and he’s a leader in training and on the pitch. He wears his heart on his sleeve and everything he does is done professionally. I know our group will feed off that.”
On the competition to capture his signature, he said: “Other people were alerted to the fact we were looking at him and, with Clint being the way he is, he was open and honest with us every step of the way. There were a number of very good opportunities for him to explore, some at a higher level, so he took a look at them.
“Fortunately for us none of them suited him and we’ve been able to come to an agreement with him which is good for the football club and good for him. Part of the discussions we’ve had with him have also been about the fact that I know he wants to develop his coaching.
“I’ve told him that we will help with that. The best thing for any professional who is coming towards the end of his career is that he can go and coach and do the courses, which is all well and good, but to actually do it in a live environment takes it to another level.
“At the same time we’ll be able to give professional feedback on the way he’s coaching which should help him to develop even quicker. We’ll video the sessions he does so that he can use it for self -analysis on both delivery and content, and we’ll be able to guide and assist wherever he feels he needs it.”
“Overall I think this is a signing that gives everyone a lift,” he said. “We’re at a stage where we need people who will stand up and be counted, and I know he will put himself forward without a second thought.
“He’s going to fit in very well and he showed on Tuesday against Morecambe that he can perform the way we need him to. He’s there physically because of how he’s looked after himself because he loves playing the game. He knows when he’s made mistakes but one of his biggest assets is that he affects those around him in really positive ways. We’re all looking forward to working with him.”
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