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Interviews

INTERVIEW: I relish the challenge

Forward Tobi Sho-Silva on his deadline day move to Cumbria

4 February 2022

It was quite the few days for striker Tobi Sho-Silva with him coming off the bench for Sutton for the last 15 minutes of the game here in Cumbria on Saturday, to then find himself signing for the Blues with just a few hours left of the January transfer window.

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Here on an 18-month deal, the 26-year-old brushed aside questions of travel and distance as he confirmed that he’s looking forward to the next step of his career.

“It all happened last minute, but I’m excited for the challenge ahead,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to play at this level and I’m happy for the opportunity that’s here for me at the moment. I just want to hit the ground running and help the team out.

“The distance … I was surprised when the first contact was made because I thought to myself - I was just there the other day and it was quite far away from London - so the travelling was a question in my head.

“I think it is a big factor, but this is the nature of the work. As footballers we have to make sacrifices for our careers, so I’m looking forward to the challenge. It’s not as far as Inverness {where he spent a spell on loan earlier in his career], and hopefully it’s not as cold, but I’m just ready to get on with it whatever.

“Like I say, it’s a great opportunity so I just want to get integrated and get involved.”

Monday was the first time the mobile forward had been involved in the drama of a move on the last day of a window, and he confirmed that was quite a strange phenomenon.

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“It was my first experience of a deadline day,” he confirmed. “I think I’d just woken up from a nap and got a call from my agent saying about Carlisle.

“I had to kind of make a decision quite soon. But I knew it was part of my plan for my career, and a good stepping-stone for me. It was a bit of a rollercoaster couple of days, but it was nice to experience something like that. 

“I’m always open to anything happening. I was waiting for the deadline day to shut and then obviously nothing could happen. I’m always open to something happening and that’s been the nature of my career.

“You’ve just got to wait for opportunities and be in the right mind frame to process things properly so you can make the right decision for yourself, your family and career. 

“My first thought was that I knew the size and history of the club and it’s always nice to be wanted. I was just looking forward to keeping my options open and then getting the deal done.”

Always key to any move is the chat with the new manager, and the feeling between the parties as they talk about the important business of getting on with the football.

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“When I spoke to the gaffer he said good words about me and the plan that he’s got here,” he explained. “He talked about the way he wants to play and how my game is suited to the style he wants to use.

“Looking at his record I’m excited about working with a manager who has a lot of experience and ambitious ideas. This is a good move for me because I think every day is a challenge and you’ve just got to embrace it.

“You’ve got to learn as much as you can and give your best in every situation. I relish challenges like this and I’m looking forward to applying myself, putting in the hard work and helping us to get some wins so we can climb up the table.”

At the age of 26, and having worked so hard at forging a path from the non-league circuit to the professional game, he confirmed that he’s here to more than lay down a marker.

“It’s kind of like a fresh start, and sometimes you find different places and locations where you can either reinvent yourself or showcase what you’re about,” he commented. “Hopefully this will be a great time in my career and in my life.

“I’m really excited. I guess when you’re a player you learn a lot through your younger years and now I’m kind of into my peak, and the latter stages of my career, so I have a lot of experience and knowledge of the game.

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“I came through the youth system at Charlton from when I was 11 and I was there for 10 years. It was then into non-league and you have to keep believing and knowing what you can bring to the table.

“You have to be prepared to react whenever the opportunity arises. There’s always a hunger with football, because you love it so much, you just want to play and give your all. My time in non-league has prepared me to become who I am and hopefully I can draw on those experiences so that I can have a successful time here.

“I think I now know myself quite well and I just want to bring that to the party, as they say. It’s always been an ambition of mine to play in the league so the challenge was to get there.

“The next challenge is to stay there and progress. Knowing how hard I’ve worked to get here means I want to display what I can do while I’m here at Carlisle.”

And on the dreaded ‘so what type of player are you’ topic, he told us: “I’ve been thinking about that - I like to challenge aerially and put myself about, and I also like to run channels or hold it up and score goals.

“My brother would describe me as a complete striker, neither here or there, so I’m happy to bring everything to the game. I like to press from the front as well, so if I can bring all those dimensions to what the manager wants, I think it would contribute quite a lot.

“I think it’s just showcasing to the football world what I bring to the table on a regular basis. Hopefully refining my game and developing and growing under the manager here, and the club. I’m jJust really looking forward to drawing out that potential which I know is inside of me.”

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Last season, of course, was a title winning campaign with Sutton, but he heads north for a challenge of a different kind with his new teammates.

“I’d say the time at Sutton has a very special place in my heart,” he told us. “It was the first time I’ve won a league, made my professional debut, and it’s a good group of boys.

“I’ve probably learned more in the last 18 months at Sutton than in the majority of my career, just in terms of winning habits and what it takes to win a game of football.

“I’m hopefully going to be able to pass that on with some of the boys here and discuss what I’ve learned with the manager, if there’s anything I can do to help this side at the moment. My focus is on winning games of football.

“I want to bring everything I can to the team and hopefully encourage some of the younger boys to draw out everything they’ve got as well. I want to contribute with goals and be a positive influence.

“There are a lot of new faces but I think it’s just time for us to get to know each other, to gel, and learn about each other’s games and how we can make partnerships on the pitch so we can contribute.

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s part of football, where you leave one group of boys and go into another group of boys, and you have to embrace that challenge.

“There are no nerves, I actually relish it. I’m a people person and I like to get know everyone and see who we can gel together. We’re all individuals but also part of Carlisle United so if we can come together off the pitch it will only help when we’re on it.”

What last Saturday demonstrated first-hand was just how supportive the Carlisle fans can be, with him having heard the roars of support as he waited to come on from the bench for Sutton.

“A lot of people who have come up here and played have told me that it’s a great club with a big fan base, and I’m really looking forward to playing in front of them,” he said.

“I think football’s about the fans. If it wasn’t for them there wouldn’t be a lot of football. I’m really looking forward to hopefully wearing the shirt with honour and passion, and just working hard for the club to bring around good results and enjoyable football.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Tobi Sho-Silva on iFollow United now.

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