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INTERVIEW: I'm looking forward to this challenge, it's the next step in my career

Defender Anthony Gerrard on his move to Cumbria

10 August 2018

New signing Anthony Gerrard enjoyed his first training session with his new team mates on Thursday morning ahead of completing a half-season loan deal which keeps him at Brunton Park until the beginning of next year.

And he admitted that not being part of a first-team pre-season package had been a frustrating experience, to say the least.

“The last couple of weeks have been really frustrating, to be honest,” he confirmed. “I’ve been sitting twiddling my thumbs for two weeks doing my own bits and pieces. It is what it is, I’ll move on, and I’m just looking forward to the challenge ahead.

“The way things happened at Oldham didn’t sit well with me. There was a bit of underhandedness on their part but, when the time is right, and everything fits into place, I’ll give my version of events, which will be the true version of events.

“At this present moment I’m just looking forward to playing football and doing well for Carlisle.”

On how the move came about, he explained: “I got a phone call from my agent and he said that with everything that’s going on at Oldham Shez [John Sheridan] wants to take you.

“Knowing that was comforting because there was someone there who still respected me as a player and a person. I’ve got nothing but respect for the gaffer, he’s a great fella and a great manager, and hopefully we can both make sure this move is a positive one.

“The big thing is that he knows me as a person and he knows what makes me tick. He knows he can give me a rollicking and also have a laugh. I don’t think the lads get to see that side of him at present, but I’ve seen it before.

“He loves a laugh and a joke, but when it comes down to business that’s when he gets serious. If you don’t do something, he’ll tell you, and I think that’s what lads take to. He’s straight talking and that’s all you want as a footballer.

“You don’t want someone who is a bit snakey, who will smile at you then go and stab you in the back. I don’t like that, it isn’t me, if I’ve got something to say to you I’m more than willing to say it to your face.”

Speaking more about the manner of his departure from his former club, but he insisted again that he wants to leave that behind and move on with the next step of his career.

“I think anyone who knows me, and knows the type of character I am, knows that anything that was said was said in jest,” he told us. “There are reasons behind why Oldham have done what they’ve done. We had a meeting at the end of the season, after we’d been relegated, and everything from that will come out in the wash.

“I’ve decided to air what I’ve got to say when the time is right, and the time isn’t right now. I’ll let them say what they’ve got to say but, like I said, anyone who knows the type of character I am knows that I’m fun loving, I love a laugh and I would never dream of doing or saying things to harm the club in any way, shape or form.

“I think they’ve made an agenda to fit what they wanted to get out of it but it is what it is and I’ll move on.”

“I think the first game against Oldham is on 6 October and the other one is on Boxing Day, not that I’ve looked or anything like that!” he joked. “In all seriousness, I’ll just treat those games as I would with any other game, we’ll see when it comes.

“It’s all about moving on now. There will still be ongoing stuff regarding what happened there, but I don’t want to keep harping on about it. They’ve put a statement out, which is their prerogative, but it’s a bit classless. It is what it is, and I wouldn’t expect anything less.

“All I want to do is play football. I’ve trained on my own and with the youth team during pre-season and I haven’t had any minutes on the pitch, which has been very frustrating. I did well in the previous two years at Oldham so that’s been disappointing, obviously not last year, because we got relegated, but the two years before were good. I just want to get back to playing football.

“I’ve worked all of my frustration out on the punchbag in the gym for the last two weeks. I’ve got a really positive mindset now and I’m just looking to push forward. I’m 32, and I want to try and make the most out of the next few years of my career.”

And with it being a half-season deal he knows he’s going to have to hit the ground running.

“It’s only a six-month deal initially, so it’s down to me to show what I’m capable of,” he commented. “It would have been selfish of me to take a two-year deal off Carlisle before everyone knows me as a person and a player.

“I’m happy with the six-month deal at present because it’s down to me to show everyone what I’m about. If it goes past that, which it looks like the club want to do, then that’s fantastic. It works for both parties at the moment.

“The manager already knows the type of player I am from previous spells I’ve had with him. I’m here to show the people at the club, the fans, and everybody else, what I’m about. We want to get as high up the league as possible and crack on.”

But what type of player can we expect to see?

“Communication and leadership are a big part of my game,” he told us. “I’ve been doing that in training already this morning because that’s just the way I am. When I was training with the youth team at Oldham I was doing that, and I felt like a little bit of a coach. If I can pass on things I know to younger lads, and it helps them by 1%, that’s what it’s all about.

“I’m aggressive but I can play a little bit as well. Don’t expect a Rio Ferdinand run down the full length of the pitch, I’m more of a stopper. I get paid to keep the ball out of the net and that’s what I’ll be doing.

“I think League One and League Two are about organisation and not giving sloppy goals away. You need to know what your role is as an individual as well as in your groups, so if I can help in that area within the squad then I’ll be happy.

“I don’t get into fights on the pitch because I know the fights I can win and the fights I’ll lose. I learned that early in my career which I think will stand me in good stead. I’m aggressive, I communicate well and I’ll bring organisation to the whole team as well as the back four. Hopefully we can keep some clean sheets and the other lads can get the ball in the back of the net.”

“The gaffer has already told me I’ll be involved but I won’t start on Saturday,” he confirmed. “That’s the frustrating bit, I’m itching to play, but I know and the gaffer knows that I’m not match fit because of the lack of minutes in pre-season.

“If I could get on to get any minutes on Saturday I’ll be over the moon. I don’t think it will take me too long to get match fit at all. I felt good and sharp in training today, I’m not 100%, but I’m close.

“I’ve been chomping at the bit to get on the pitch since I came back for pre-season. There’s nothing worse than seeing a squad list and your name not being on it - for no reason basically.

“That’s football, it happens day-in day-out at all 92 clubs. It doesn’t just happen to Anthony Gerrard, it will be happening now to certain individuals at clubs. It’s all about how you deal with it and how you move forward.”

The first training session on Thursday was also an opportunity to meet up with some familiar faces.

“I know Jona [Mike Jones], Dev [Jamie Devitt] and Kelvin [Etuhu] already and I’ve played against the majority of the rest of the lads,” he said. “We’ve got some good young players as well, so there’s a nice mix. Hopefully we can get a couple of wins and get the confidence going so we can kick on.

“I’m looking forward to this challenge, it’s the next step in my career. I’ve gone from playing at a Premier League team, to League One, to the Championship on the cusp of going to the Premier League, only to lose out in a penalty shootout.

“There’s been lots of ups and downs in my career, that’s the way I do it. I’d love a nice plain-sailing career, but that doesn’t make for a good book at the end of it does it!

“I’ll be able to bring my experience to the dressing room which is something I’m looking forward to. There aren’t many players who have played in a 90,000-seater stadium twice in two major finals.

“I think the Championship play-off final is the wealthiest game in football, I think the monetary value in that game is more than the Champions League. Because we lost I don’t really think about it now but, when I retire, I’ll look back and think I’ve played in some decent games.

“I’ve had one promotion out of this league with Walsall already and I’d love to get another one.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Anthony Gerrard on iFollow United now.

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