Neil Eardley: Talentspotter

Oldham's former Mr. Dependable, now at Birmingham City via Blackpool, chats to FourFourTwo in December 2007.

Born
Llandudno 6/11/1988

Position
Right-back

Nickname
‘Eards’.

Club supported as a boy 
I’ve always been a huge Liverpool fan and grew up watching the likes of McManaman and Fowler.

Strengths
As a right-back I love getting forward and getting crosses in for other people to get on the end of. As a defender obviously I’m there to do a job at the back but you can’t beat the buzz of doing some damage in the opposition half.

Weaknesses
My heading’s not the best and my physical conditioning needs a bit of work but I’m much stronger this season than I was when I made my debut. It takes time to adjust the hurly-burly of League One but the more I play the fitter and stronger I’m becoming.

I play a bit like
I don’t like to compare myself to other players but I look up to the likes of Gary Neville – much as I hate United. He’s a great pro and a brilliant example to any youngster coming through. He’s never in the papers after a late night or a boozy session, he’s just a top player.

Highlights
Making my Oldham debut and coming up against Peter Beagrie when he was at Scunthorpe was great. Making my senior debut for Wales was a real honour too. I came on in the second half of the match against Bulgaria and think I did myself justice. I’m still in John Toshack’s squad so he must have agreed!

Lowlights
Losing in the play-off semi-final against Blackpool was devastating.

Toughest opponent
Martin Petrov. He was so quick and strong it was frightening.

Best player played with
To train with Craig Bellamy and Ryan Giggs with Wales was just unbelievable. To start with I was a bit overawed, I don’t think I spoke for half an hour.     

Biggest influence
My mum and dad were always there to ferry me from North Wales to Oldham when I was a kid and they’ve always been fantastic. At Oldham, Tony Philliskirk was the head of the youth team and was a brilliant coach.

Biggest practical joker
Andy Liddle, by a country mile. He’s always in the mix with his banter and you can’t ever shut him up.

Latest car
I’ve got a Peugeot 207 Sport at the moment. I was driving a Seat Ibiza but it got written off. I had parked it outside my girlfriend’s house and some idiot smashed into it at 3.30 in the morning.

Flicks
I went recently actually to see Mr Woodcock because it had that bloke from American Pie in it [Sean William Scott]. It wasn’t the best to be honest, not side-splitting.

Chicks
Apart from my girlfriend, I’ve always had a thing for Kimberley Walsh from Girls Aloud.

Preferred holiday destination
This summer I went to Zante with the lads and it was superb. I’ll be back there.

If I hadn’t been a footballer
I was never the brightest at school – the GCSEs didn’t go too well – but I would have gone back to college and got a sports diploma. Then, who knows?

Tell us something we don’t know
I once had a trial at Oldham with Micah Richards. I can’t remember how he did and he shot off to Manchester City soon after. Lucky, because I might struggle to hold down the right-back slot if he’d stayed! 

If I could play alongside any player
I would love to play in the same team as Steven Gerrard. He’s just a superb player – one of the best in the world.  

Most embarrassing moment
I was playing for Wales Under-21s against France in Grenoble. It was 0-0 and everything was going nicely until  I popped up and scored an own goal. We lost 1-0. I was gutted.

In five years’ time
I want to be playing at the highest level and testing myself against the best players in the world.  

From the December 2007 issue of FourFourTwo. 


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