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INTERVIEW: I'm here to compete

Ben Barclay on his move to Cumbria

5 July 2022

Defender Ben Barclay became summer signing number five on Monday when he joined on a season-long loan deal from Stockport County.

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The Manchester-born centre back spent the second half of last season out at Yeovil, and confirmed that he’s looking forward to pushing on with the Blues this season.

Explaining how the move happened, he said: “It came about late last week.

“I got a call from my agent and he passed me on to the manager. I then spoke to Greg as well - I talked to them both a couple of times - and we sorted it for me to come in this morning [Monday].

“It’s an opportunity for me to stay in the league. I want to come here and play football in the league again, it’s been a couple of years since I’ve done that, and I’m looking forward to it."

“With it being for a season it’s something I can get my teeth into,” he added. “I played for a few months at Yeovil last season, that was good, and I said to myself this time that I wanted to play in the league again, be that with Stockport or wherever.

“Carlisle gave me the call and I thought I’d get myself up here. The squad down there is really big so when this opportunity came they told me to go for it. It’s a chance for me to get another season of games under my belt and we can see where it takes me after that.”

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The loan at Huish Park suggests a player who wants to be on the pitch, and who is prepared to put location issues to one side to make sure that’s the case.

“It didn’t quite work out for me the way I would have liked before Christmas at Stockport, so to go out and get those games at Yeovil was good,” he told us. “That’s why it’s important for me to keep the momentum going this season.

“I was young when I went to Brighton, and it’s a funny one really. I left City when I was 16, when I finished at school, because I had a call from a scout to go down there.

“I didn’t know much about the city or the club, but the chance came along for me to go for a trial for a week.

“You could see that the club was going in a good direction and I enjoyed it. By the end of my time there I’d made my debut, that was in the cup, and I’d been involved with the squad and training with the first team.

“Like I say, it hasn’t gone the way I planned at Stockport, but I’ve still got another year there next year. Hopefully this loan move will put me in good stead for that, but we’ll see.”

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And what kind of defender can we expect to see - the old-school head it and kick it variety or the ball playing approach?

“I think I’ve got a balance of both,” he said. “I’d like to say I’m comfortable in possession on the ball.

“Through my time at Yeovil last year we had a very good defensive record, and credit to the whole back four, and myself, we had a good amount of clean sheets and we showed we could defend.

“Hopefully there’ll be more of that here. I spoke to the manager at the back end of last week, and today, and he’s explained that there’s going to be competition for places. That’s what I’m here for, to compete for the shirt.

“It’s what football is, isn’t it, you’ve got to earn the right to play and enjoy it as much as you can.”

As for settling in, it’s straight into the training sessions and a midweek game at Kendal with his new teammates.  

“I’ve been on a couple of loans now, and that’s put me in a few different dressing rooms,” he commented. “Meeting the lads is always a bit nerve-wracking, but it’ll be fine.

“I’ve done a week and a half with Stockport so this is my third week of pre-season as well. They had a game on Saturday, but I wasn’t involved because I knew I was coming here, so they told me to leave it.

“Wednesday will be my first taste of a game for a while, so I’m looking forward to it. I’m at a point where I just want to be playing and doing well.

“I’m not a kid any more, as such, and I’d like to think that I’ve played a decent amount of games now, so I can come here and establish myself.”

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