I signed for Sunderland FC as an academy player aged 16 having played for Longbenton Juniors. Unlike a lot of players that signed, I had no experience with academy football and had never played at higher level than Sunday league standard. After trials with Newcastle and Nottingham Forest I choose Sunderland in 2001.

Six months of academy football and I earned my first of 21 England caps with the u’17′s on the same team as Wayne Rooney, Scott Carson, Arron Lennon and other top flight players. My first game was against Portugal in which we drew 1-1: I scored our goal and Christiano Ronaldo the current world player of the year scored for his team. My England experiences helped me to play against some of the top players in the world; Torres, Ronaldo and Rooney.

Chances of first team football were restricted at Sunderland and although I was named in the first team squad for an FA cup match against Blackburn, I realised that I would have to leave in order to play in a first team environment.

In 2004 I left Sunderland and after trials with Birmingham City and Celtic, I signed for Sheffield Wednesday in with the ambitions of playing in front of 25,000 people every week. In my first season I played 34 games and played in the playoff final at Cardiff in front of 70,000 people. Promotion to the championship led to an influx of signings and my first time chances were restricted. After a loan spell at Swindon Town I decided to return to the North East and sign for Darlington FC in 2006.

I played 34 games in my first season at Darlington but chronic calf cramps restricted me from staying fit and in my second season I went on loan to Oxford FC but with the calf cramps continuing to stop me play I was forced to take time out from football.

With such amazing experiences in professional football and the constant passion to want to help and train the next future stars, I am now achieving all relevant coaching badges to become a full time coach.


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