Gilks: 'I almost gave up on football'
Ex-Norwich City back-up keeper Matt Gilks is ready to answer Scotland's call after revealing he once considered quitting the game altogether. Blackpool stopper Gilks has been drafted into Craig Levein's international squad for the first time ahead of a European Championship qualifying double header against Lithuania and Liechtenstein.
Ex-Norwich City back-up keeper Matt Gilks is ready to answer Scotland's call after revealing he once considered quitting the game altogether.
Blackpool stopper Gilks has been drafted into Craig Levein's international squad for the first time ahead of a European Championship qualifying double header against Lithuania and Liechtenstein.
The 28-year-old failed to make a single senior appearance at Carrow Road before being offloaded by Glenn Roeder in 2008 and then being frozen out at the Seasiders prior to Ian Holloway's arrival.
“I had lost faith in myself, I had lost faith in football - there were times when I came off the training ground, went home and told everyone I was through,” said Gilks.
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“They all reassured me this is what I was meant to be doing. There wasn't really anything else I could have done, other than work in a factory or work on cars. It was a personal thing that I had to deal with and I came back with a different frame of mind. If the manager hadn't changed though, I would probably have gone away from football totally. He has been a massive influence on everyone.”
Gilks made 32 appearances during Blackpool's surprise march to the Premier League last year via a play-off final win over former City goalkeeping rival David Marshall's Cardiff City.
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The former Rochdale trainee has featured in all three of the Seasiders' top flight games so far this season and owes his international elevation to a Scottish grandmother.
“They asked for my paperwork a few weeks ago to prove my eligibility,” said Gilks. “My grandmother was Scottish and they've traced the roots back and checked it. I'm eligible and it's great to be in the squad.
“Everybody knows that I am English but England doesn't come knocking on the door of Blackpool Football Club and I think that's a problem. They look at the bigger clubs.
“There were only seven English keepers playing in the Premier League at the weekend and I was one of them. They aren't going to ring me though because I'm at Blackpool.
“They look at the bigger clubs and who they are bringing through the youth and under-21 set up, lads like Scott Loach and Frank Fielding.
“To be honest it was nice of Scotland to come and have a look at me and find out about me.
“They were made aware of me somehow and playing in the Premier League week in week out has obviously stood me in good stead and the call up has come from that.”
Gilks admits Holloway's backing has been a major factor in turning his career around.
“I don't resent past managers,” he said. “It is their decision, but I probably wasn't given a fair crack of the whip and I suppose I do hold a slight grudge. I had to keep going but I did let it affect me. I'm not going to lie and say it didn't. It affected how I approached my football.
“When I was at Rochdale I played every single game for two and a half seasons. Every single game. I left to join Norwich and go on to better things, but Celtic's keeper joined at the same time and I was on the bench for a season there.
“So that was difficult, but it was even harder when I came to Blackpool and found myself on the bench again. It meant I basically had two years out.”