Page 33 - Simply Abu Dhabi Magazine I

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the i nt e r v i ew
Who/what first got you hooked on football?
My older brother Aaron was my inspiration for getting into football.
You always look up to your older brother and going to watch him
play football as a child triggered my passion for the game from a very
young age. He knows I look up to him - I’m very proud of what he’s
What would you say are the pros and cons of a career as a
professional footballer?
I count myself very lucky to be doing something I love for a job. The
opportunity to get to play every week in front of thousands of people
is the ultimate experience for me. I would honestly play for nothing.
No professional sports players I know have got into football because
they want to drive fast cars; it’s because they just love to play the
It does have its downsides though as you do have to be very
committed and miss out on family occasions. I try and make up for
this in other ways by creating opportunities for my friends and family.
How do you mentally prepare yourself before a game?
I used to be really superstitious before I went on to the pitch as I had
a lot of tense energy when I was younger. I used to put my socks on
a certain way, tie my boots a particular way and always eat the same
thing the day before a game. I’ve dropped these habits now as I’m
more relaxed and confident in my ability.
If you hadn’t gone into professional football, where do you think
you’d be now for a career?
If I hadn’t gone into football I’d have probably followed my dad and
gone into DJ-ing. Music is one of my other biggest passions outside of
football and I really idolise the producer Ryan Leslie.
Can you remember the moment you first found out that City was
being taken on by Sheikh Mansour?
I remember thinking ‘wow’ when I heard that Sheikh Mansour was
taking over City. I knew that his wealth would mean he’d be bringing
the best players from around the world into the Premiership and that
we’d get a chance to play against the best in the game. People may
be surprised to hear that I was excited about the news, when I was
playing for a competitor team at the time, but the thought of having
world class players in our league was incredibly exciting.
Do you think Sheikh Mansour’s takeover will mark the start of
City’s rise to replace Chelsea and Manchester United at the top of
the Premiership?
People are now taking us seriously. I really believe that we can go on
and achieve some great things and we certainly have the potential to
win the league this year. We want to do it for the fans. They’ve been
with us through the hard times and now it’s time to really bring up
the goods.
What makes you happy?
My family and friends. I’m very content with my life at the minute.
Life is easy when you have a good network of friends and a supportive
family. I’m very lucky in that way.
What sort of husband are you?
One word: messy! I’m not much of a romantic but I’m starting to
learn that side of a relationship. The stability I have in my life is very
much down to Debbie.
What are your ambitions for the future (both your football career
and personal life)?
To achieve with City and England. Even if we do win the league this
year, we’d be just as keen to push on and improve even more the year
In terms of my family life, there may be more kids for us in the future
but at the moment we’re very happy the four of us. My oldest loves
to get out in the garden and play football with me. Everyday it’s not
raining we have to go out and play - in fact, I’m quite glad it’s raining
today! I also love watching cartoons with Donovan and Clayton - I’m
such a big kid with them!
On Abu Dhabi…
I’ve never had the chance yet to go to Abu Dhabi as I’ve always been
playing or training for England when the boys have gone over but
I’ve heard it’s an amazing place. I think we’re going to go on a family
holiday there next year. It’s less touristy than Dubai and it’s the
perfect destination for downtime.
Abu Dhabi has an amazing portfolio of hotels but we’re quite easily
pleased as a family. As long as there’s plenty for the kids to do and an
English TV channel they can watch then we’re happy!