Page 111 - Simply Abu Dhabi Magazine II

Basic HTML Version

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 achieved.
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 game.
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
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 after.
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!