Defender Corey Whelan had a whirlwind introduction to his new club on Tuesday morning when the formal requirements of arriving at his place of work for the first time were followed by an immediate introduction to the local press.
The 22-year-old quickly confirmed that despite having other offers, Brunton Park was the place he wanted to be.
“I’m really excited with this new challenge,” he said. “It’s a place that isn’t round the corner for me in terms of location but it’s about what the club can bring for me as I move forward with my career.
“I just want to get in front of the fans and showcase what I can do. This is potentially a great time for me so I’m really pleased to get it over the line.
“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind few days with the way it came about. I went to meet the manager yesterday [Monday] and I really liked what I heard. I could see that it’s a club that’s going in the right direction and I want to be part of it. It was a pretty easy decision for me to make in the end.”
“It didn’t take me long to make my mind up because I think it’s going to be a really good move for me,” he added. “It’s a new chapter in my life and I’m ready for it. I want to be successful personally and I want the club to do well at the same time.
“It’s good to know where you’re at with the contract situation and I’m excited to meet up with the lads and get on with pre-season.
“I think it’s important that I’m done already with this side of things so that I can start to form connections and I’m not playing catch-up. I’m in somewhere from day one and I can get on with it. I’m just glad that I’m here.
“It can be a long summer when you haven’t got a club. There’s a lot of phone calls and trying to get things over the line. It was good that this happened so quickly and it’s done before pre-season starts so I can come in on the first day knowing I’ll be here for the next two years.
“I think I’m at an age where I really want to get the ball rolling again. I’ve obviously been away in America so I just want to come back and show what I’m about again. I know what I can do as a player and I just need to be given a platform where I can show that. If I’m doing the right things on and off the pitch then I think this club can give me that.”
Speaking more about why this feels like the right place to be, he told us: “A big thing is how quickly people were reaching out to me.
“Within a day I was in front of the manager in a hotel having a coffee and chatting about normal stuff. That goes a long way for me, feeling wanted somewhere.
“Maybe I could have waited to see if there was something a little bit more local for me but I’ve always thought that when something feels right you’ve got to go for it.
“Through speaking to other people I’ve heard good things about the manager, and he said all of the right things when I sat in front of him. He spoke about how the team plays and how ambitious he is about where he wants us to go. It meets what I want and I just feel like Carlisle is the right place for me.”
And the importance of the first face-to-face meeting with the manager in helping him to make his decision was an obvious factor.
“The way the gaffer came across was really good,” he confirmed. “When you sit in front of a manager it’s important you get a good feeling for what they want to do going forward.
“Sometimes you sit down and don’t really take things in if you aren’t interested, but I was intrigued during the whole meeting. He knows where he wants the club to be, and he’s already shown where the club can be during the first half of last season.
“I think this group of players is something I can be a big part of. It is nice to sit in meeting with a manager and like everything you hear. It was also nice to walk away knowing the gaffer and the club wanted me.
“With it being a two-year deal he’s put his faith in me and it’s one of the main reasons why I wanted to join the club. Another is the way we play. I’ve been at clubs where they’ve pressed high with energy and growing up at Liverpool during the transition to the new manager was the same.
“It’s nothing that’s foreign to me, I’ve done it before, and it was the same over in America. It was all played at a high intensity and there’s a need to get in people’s faces to make it work. I’m fine with all of that.”
As for how he describes himself as a player, he said: “I like having the ball and I class myself that I can play. First and foremost I’m a defensive-minded player so I’m competitive and very passionate about what I do.
“Everyone is in a better place if you’re winning games, so I enjoy that side of it. As for my preferred position, it’s a question I get asked a lot. I don’t really have one because I’ve played in so many positions so often.
“It’s something I’ve always taken with me during my career and that helps me in some ways because if someone is doing really well in one position there could be an opportunity for me somewhere else.
“I’m still at the stage where I’m happy to be adaptable, I don’t really have a preferred position, I think I can play most defensive positions quite well.
“There’s healthy competition for places and you understand that as a player. I’m ready to hit the ground running, and I’m sure the rest of the lads feel that way as well. With us all going in the right direction I’m sure the club will be in a great place.
“I’m really looking forward to the challenge and meeting everybody, and seeing the stadium, has reinforced that it’s a club I want to be part of. When we were doing the deal it wasn’t a case of let me think about it, it was a case of let’s get this done.
“I really wanted to get it over the line and I can’t wait to see the fans here cheering us on. Meeting the lads will be good as well. I don’t get nervy about that, it’s just another group of lads who you’ll be playing football with of a weekend.
“You all want the same things and first impressions are always key, but I’m an easy going lad and I get on with anybody. We’ll all be going through the same in the next few weeks. Pre-season is always hard and I’m more nervous of that than I am of meeting the lads.
“It’s one of those things you just have to do because you need to get your body into shape, but I know we’ll all come in looking relatively sharp. The pre-season games help us to come together as a team, so it’s all enjoyable, event though there’ll be hard parts.”
We’ll have more from Corey on the official website on Sunday where he talks about his early career with Liverpool, in America, and back home with Wigan.
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