FORMER WOLVERHAMPTON Wanderers prospect, Brian McGroary believes Derry City is the perfect club for him to resurrect his injury-blighted career.
SIMON COLLINS reports
The 19 years-old Donegal Town lad was delighted to sign on the dotted line for the club yesterday on a deal which will keep him at the Brandywell until the end of the 2012 season.
And the promising right winger - brought in as a replacement for Gareth McGlynn - is excited about the prospect of furthering his development under the stewardship of Declan Devine.
Having signed with Premiership club, Wolves as a 16 year-old, the talented Co. Donegal man’s progression suffered a major set-back after he was diagnosed with an inflammatory arthritis condition which affected his joints after matches.
For the past six months, however, McGroary has managed to control his condition with treatment and is primed and ready to make a significant impact in the Airtricity League Premier Division this season.
“When I turned 16 years-old I moved over to England with Wolverhampton Wanderers and I really enjoyed my football over there and was doing really well,” said McGroary.
“After about six months I picked up a bad injury. I didn’t think it was that bad initially but I started having set-backs and it turned out that I had inflammatory arthritis and my joints would swell up after games and training sessions.
“I’d be fine during games but the next day I would be in bits,” he added. “I would be alright for another three weeks and then it kept happening and getting worse.
“I got it sorted and got treatment for about a year now and I’ve had no problems for the last six months or so.
“The amount of training that was going on at Wolves and the intensity of competing and trying to get in to the first team, I thought was too much. So I spoke to a lot of people and thought it was a better option to look back at playing League of Ireland football.”
While he remains hopeful of returning to England in the future, he insists that playing for Derry City can only be beneficial for his career, when considering the platform it proved for the careers of former City players James McClean and Danny Lafferty in recent months.
“I got phone calls from a few different places but after speaking to Declan (Devine) and Paul Hegarty, I thought Derry City was the best option for me.
“The club has a great fan base, I like the style of play and it’s only an hour up the road from where I live as well so I’m looking forward to getting back into it again.
“Everyone I spoke to about the club pointed out that it has a great history of players going back to England or making it in England after two or three years.
“I just turned 19 last week so I think I’ve got plenty of time as long as I don’t have any other set-backs. I think if I get my teeth into playing here and concentrate on playing with Derry City for a few years or for whatever amount of time I’m here, then things will go well for me. But my main aim is to get back over to England eventually.”
The confident teenager, who played for Donegal Schoolboys in the Milk Cup, would consider himself as a similar type of player to Sunderland’s James McClean and he promised the Brandywell Faithful an exciting season.
“I never really heard much about James McClean until last season then I started hearing good reviews about him. Once I seen him playing for Sunderland I could see why they signed him.
“I would say I’m a similar type of player to James,” he added. “I might not be as tall, I have a few inches to grow yet,” he laughed. “I like to get at defenders at pace, create a lot of opportunities and I like to score a few goals as well so hopefully the Brandywell will see a lot of exciting performances this season.”
Asked how he found his first training session with his new teammates yesterday, the teenager responded: “It was tough,” he smiled. “My legs are tired now because I’ve been out of action for two weeks now and I have another running session tomorrow.
“You’d be surprised how quickly your legs get tired but it was tough today. I enjoyed the session and the lads are sound. I couldn’t have asked for a better start,” he concluded.