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Interviews

INTERVIEW: I can't wait to get out there

Connor Malley on his move across to Cumbria

2 October 2020

Middlesbrough midfielder Connor Malley teamed up with his new team mates having secured a half-season loan spell with the Blues this evening.

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Speaking about the move, his first taste of league football south of the border, he said: “I was surprised when I heard about the opportunity but I was grateful for it, and I told my agent just to get it done as quickly as possible.

“It didn’t take much thinking about for me at all because Carlisle is a big club for where they are, and they should be higher up.

“Hopefully I can come here and contribute to helping them get up to a better place.”

“Hearing that the manager has known about me for a while is good,” he added. “He’s told me that if I want to develop myself as a player and as a person I need to play men’s football, and there’s no better place for me to do that than in the English football leagues.

“This is a different type of challenge to what I’ve had before and I’m really looking forward to it. All I want to do now is get playing.”

And on what the staff at Boro have said about what they want to see from this loan spell, he said: “They’ve told me to go and express myself and play how I was playing in the under-23s.

“They’ve told me to make sure I work hard and put the graft in. This has all happened really quickly, but it’s helped that I’ve been able to come across here and get straight into a training session.

“I’m better for it because I don’t like to be waiting about and stuff, I’d rather just get straight into it. I’m just happy to get it done this quickly.

“I’ve met all of the lads this morning and they’re a good bunch, and I think it’s going to be a good move for me.”

His first loan spell away from Boro came in January, when he moved up to the Scottish Championship to play for Ayr United, prior to the virus lockdown.

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“It meant a lot to me to get out on loan at that point,” he said. “I’d never played a professional game before, so it was nice to go up there and do it. Getting a goal up there made it even better.

“Going out on loan was something we’d spoken about before Christmas, but I didn’t actually think I was going anywhere in January. The manager said he wanted me to stay, but they signed another midfielder so he decided to give me the opportunity to go out in the end.

“I was obviously very thankful for that. The football was different, not anything like I expected, but I really enjoyed it even though it did get cut short. It was good to get my first taste of it.

“U23s football is good when you’re younger, you can develop technically, but it’s a much more physical game once you step up to men’s football.

“You need to adapt to that so that you can carry on getting the experience of being out there and doing it. I’m 20 now and I know it’s an age where I need to be getting a decent amount of games and playing senior football.”

On what we can expect to see, he told us: “I’m a midfielder and I’d definitely say I was more attack-minded.

“I always want to get on the ball and make things happen by going past people and things like that.

“The goal for Ayr was part of that, and I was buzzing when the ball hit the net. Running over to the fans to celebrate my first goal meant everything.”

Coming into a squad with competition for places already stiff, he commented: “I think that’s just something you always have to deal with in football.

“You’re trying to take the shirts off those players who have it, and that’s definitely what I’ve come here to do. I’ll be trying my best to get a place.

“Looking at the pitch it’s not bad at all, is it. Believe it or not I’ve been here before as an under-18 to play against Carlisle and they’re great facilities over here.

“Like I say, I just can’t wait to get out there, put the shirt on and play some games.

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