Walsh: I'm desperate to take my chance

DESPITE making his dream move into the Football League last week, there is no way that new Dagenham & Redbridge signing Phil Walsh is taking anything for granted.

by MIKE SIMMONDS

DESPITE making his dream move into the Football League last week, there is no way that new Dagenham & Redbridge signing Phil Walsh is taking anything for granted.

The 25-year-old, who completed his transfer from Blue Square South Dorchester Town on Monday, met up with his new team-mates for training at the frozen May & Baker Sports Centre.

But with a remarkably level head on his shoulders, Walsh appreciates now is not the time to congratulate himself, but to put in the hours on the training ground.


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Chance

"The hard work starts here for me now, and I know that I've got a great chance," he told the Post.

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"People have been sending me texts and saying well done and congratulations, but I don't want any accolades now, I've done nothing to get them.

"I want to work hard and the best thing about this is not that you are getting paid, because you don't think, what can I go and spend my money on? You know that you can just concentrate on football and stay at the training ground to work even harder if you want too.

"There are things in my game that I'm not happy with and want to keep working hard at.

"Even though I've just joined, I want to work on my fitness, pace, ball control, every aspect as you notice the difference immediately.

"I've made a promise to myself that I'm not going to waste this opportunity too, as it's all I've ever wanted to do."

Walsh spent time at Bath City and Tiverton Town earlier in his career, before joining Dorchester in March 2009.

Although he enjoyed his time in the non-league circles, he readily admits he had always been hoping to make the step up into the professional ranks.

Decision

"It wasn't a hard decision to make," he said. "I spent 10 months at Dorchester and enjoyed it there, but I've been around a few non-league clubs, and didn't really know what I was going to do with my life.

"I've always just wanted to play football and didn't really have a proper job until now.

"I've done some removals and worked in a warehouse, but didn't really like either of those.

"I did some coaching too, and that was the only thing I ever really enjoyed as it involved playing football."

For the majority of the season, Walsh, who has been signed primarily as a striker, has been employed in the centre of defence by Dorchester, whose caretaker manager is former Daggers favourites Ashley Vickers.

Although he will now look for a role-reversal at Victoria Road, Walsh believes the switch has helped rather than hindered his career.

"I didn't mind doing it because it meant I was out on the pitch playing football," he said.

"It could be a bit annoying at times, because it meant that you couldn't go forward unless it was for set-pieces and the game would unfold in front of you.

"But it was a good learning experience and it killed two birds with one stone, because it has added another string to my bow.

"It means that I can play two positions if needed, and if there is a situation where the team is 1-0 up and need help to defend, I can always do a job there."

Arctic

With the arctic conditions up and down the country wiping out almost the entire Football League schedule, including Daggers' trip to Torquay United on Saturday, Walsh has been able to meet up with manager John Still (pictured above) and his new team-mates.

Although he readily admits the training sessions are a step up from what he has been used too, he is also relishing the challenge.

"We've been able to do some work, mainly in the indoor gym, with some five or six-a-side games," he said.

"They've been difficult because the lads are class and you notice the difference straight away.

"We managed to do some running in the snow too and I actually found it quite refreshing. I'd rather do that in the future than the pre-season stuff when all the ground is really hard.

"John has been different class too and I spoke to some ex-pros who had made their way into non-league.

"They didn't have a bad word to say about him, and neither have I, he's been brilliant."

Walsh has joined Daggers just when they are trying to arrest a slump in form which has seen them win just once in the last seven matches.

Despite recent results not going according to plan, the new signing hasn't noticed any problems off the pitch.

"To be honest, there has been no talk of a bad patch at all," he said.

"They've lost a couple of games, but they've still got a hand on the promotion race.

"I hadn't met any of the players before, but I know Jacob Erskine who used to be here.

"When we spoke about Daggers, he always said they were a great set of lads and they have been. They've had me laughing every day since I've been here and I'm really enjoying my time.

"I think we have got a good blend here too, with experienced players to learn the game from and the younger ones who have the legs as well."

Walsh isn't the only new face at the club this week as youngster Marlon Pack joined on loan from Portsmouth.

They should both go into the squad for Saturday's home game against Crewe Alexandra, and will be looking to make an impact.

Spoke

"I spoke to Marlon as I had been staying in the same hotel as him last week and told me about his time at Wycombe," said Walsh.

"He looks a good player, which you would expect coming from a Premier League club and also playing in League One.

"For me though, I really want to concentrate on breaking into the team now.

"I know that I'm not going to come here and get in straight away, because I'm not at the level yet.

"I want to work as hard as I can though and then John will be able to see that I'm ready.

"Hopefully I will be able to look back on helping the team have a successful season and playing as big a part as I can."

The Post is now on Twitter, so if you follow twitter.com/Post_DagRed then you will get up to the minute updates on goings on at Victoria Road

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