Widdowson’s happy to come back ‘home’
16:30 17 December 2014
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Daggers loan star discusses youth days at West Ham
Forest Gate’s Joe Widdowson has spent six years away from east London, but is delighted to have returned home after joining Dagenham & Redbridge.
Wayne Burnett signed the 25-year-old recently on loan from league rivals Bury until January 4.
The left-sided defender is pleased to have returned ‘home’ after various spells with Northern-based clubs, and is open to staying at Victoria Road.
“It has been a few years now since I have been back in London,” said Widdowson. “I was 18 or 19 years old the last time I was living at home and playing.
“It is nice to be back home, it is nice to be local again at Dagenham and to be able to see old friends.
“I am definitely open to staying a bit longer. I like the club already, there is good people around and it is local for me. It would be good to stay a bit longer than a month.”
Widdowson’s journey has taken him to Rotherham, Grimsby Town, Rochdale, Northampton Town, Bury, Morecambe and finally Dagenham.
But it all started for him at his local club, West Ham United, as he progressed through the youth team alongside various other talented individuals.
The Daggers’ loanee played in the same age group as Hammers first-team regular James Tomkins and was also alongside Jack Collison, Junior Stanislas, Kyel Reid, Hogan Ephraim and new team-mate Zavon Hines in the Upton Park Academy.
Widdowson admits he is thrilled that so many talented players have been able to remain involved in football at various levels.
He added: “James is the last one standing. It was him and Jack, but he has obviously moved to Ipswich.
“We had a good youth team and a good set of players. It is just good to see the boys are still active.
“Even though James is the only one left in the West Ham first team, and he is doing great for himself, it is nice that everyone else is still making a career for themselves in football.”
Widdowson’s time as a youngster trying to make his way at Upton Park coincided with Italian Gianluca Nani’s appointment as technical director.
It was a time of change at West Ham, but the defender has no regrets about leaving.
“I was at the club during a period when there was quite a bit of upheaval going on,” he added.
“There was a little revolution happening when the new owners came in. We had new foreign staff and there was an emphasis at the time on signing youth players from abroad, especially Europe.
“I was told I wouldn’t be getting a new deal, despite doing fairly well and progressing. It was a bit difficult to take at the time.
“But I have no regrets because I went and played league football, competitive football early on and it was good for my development.”