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Wilson: You have to take risks in football

Dublin ace on leaving Pep for Waterford

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NEW START: Tyreke Wilson in action for Waterford United last February. Pic: Sportsfile

NEW START: Tyreke Wilson in action for Waterford United last February. Pic: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

NEW START: Tyreke Wilson in action for Waterford United last February. Pic: Sportsfile

The Project Restart for his own career, in Ireland, had to stop and take a backseat due to Covid-19.

But former Manchester City prospect Tyreke Wilson says he had to take the risk of leaving Manchester City midway through this season to return to Ireland and find a path for himself in a lane different to the one taken by former City team-mates like Phil Foden.

Wilson (20) has spent the last three months back on his home ground of Walkinstown on Dublin's southside, his brief time with Waterford FC interrupted by the March shutdown of the new League of Ireland season.

He's eager to resume duties with the Blues, though he speaks of disappointment at the lack of information from the club to the players, a factor in last week's decision by manager Alan Reynolds to quit.

"It's hard to take as I felt like I was settling in at Waterford and in the League. I am still young and still learning the game and it was good to be playing men's football at last," says Wilson, who had impressed at left back for the Blues in the first month of the season.

"We know that the FAI are in talks with the clubs and we're waiting to hear back from the club owners. We're told they'll make a decision early this week but it is very frustrating."

Wilson admits that it's taken time to adjust to his new surroundings and a transitionary six months which saw him go from training under Pep Guardiola to being in lockdown in Dublin waiting for the LOI season to resume, having left City in January with half a season left on his contract.

"It was the toughest decision of my career, as it's really hard to come back to Ireland and then go back to the UK. A few players have done it but not a lot," he says.

"Not many people wanted me to come back. I could have stayed at City, I could have gone on trials, I could have signed for another U-23 team but nothing concrete came up in January until Waterford came in and I made that decision myself.

"You have to take risks in football, you won't get anywhere if you don't take risks and I am confident I will go back to England, once I prove myself."

Soft spot

A self-confessed Liverpool supporter, Wilson says he retains a soft spot for City, having spent more than six years there, highlights including two summer tours of the USA with the first team.

"I was on two pre-season tours and I trained with the first team a few times. That experience of training under Pep with those players was incredible.

"You had to bite your lip sometimes, seeing all these superstars, but you also want to prove yourself, show you deserve to be there and at the end of the day they are just footballers too. You have to look at it that way," says the former Cherry Orchard player.

"It's mad how football can change. I see lads I played with doing well now. I'm good mates with Phil Foden, we played together for five or six years, from U-13s up and he made the step-up to the first team. My age group has done well. Eric Garcia was my age group too and he played against Arsenal last week, he did really well.

"Our timing is different, we all have different pathways in football. Some will go straight to the top, others have to drop down a bit and build ourselves back up. I made a big mistake a few years ago when some of my friends were starting to push on or go out on loan. I was asking myself 'why am I not there?' and that was the mistake I made as you can't compare yourself to others, everyone's timing is different."

He says he asked the club if he could go on loan but they reckoned that, at 18, he was too young and said no.

"I had options in Ireland and in Scotland but nothing happened. Maybe it would have been different if I'd had a loan spell then," says Wilson, keen to use his time at Waterford to add to his Ireland U-21 caps.

"It's been a massive change. Twelve months ago I was at Man City, playing U-23 games, and now I am at Waterford, where the season was broken up by the virus and I did have to ask 'what's happened here?'.

"But that's football, you'll always have ups and downs, I have had downs but learned how to deal with it and I have come through it stronger."