Name: Andy Whing
Date of Birth: 20/09/1984
Club: Oxford United
Previous Clubs: Coventry City, Brighton and Hove Albion, Chesterfield (loan), Leyton Orient.
What do you remember about your first ever match?
I was playing for Coventry City and we had Burnley at home. We got beaten 1-0 but I played really well. I had a shot from about 25-yards and the goalkeeper tipped it round the post, I thought it was going in.
I didn't expect to start the match. I'd only been training with the first-team literally two days or so, so I didn't have much time to think about it, it was pretty much straight in at the deep end. It was a good game, though, and a decent debut, but we got beaten.
Who was your childhood hero?
Paul McGrath at Aston Villa. He was a legend in the Villa fans' eyes when I was growing up so I would have to say him.
When did you realise you had a chance to progress in the game?
I started at Coventry but I actually got released by them when I was 16. I went away, had a few extra trials and did really well. A few clubs were then after me and I was on trial on Colchester United when Coventry picked up the phone and said to me they thought they had made a mistake. So I re-signed for them a couple of months after they had released me.
That was a bit of a confidence boost, so I thought I had a chance then; when they re-signed me and other clubs were after me.
Which coach has had the biggest influence on your career?
I had some great youth team coaches at Coventry - George Mackie was one, a Scottish bloke who was a great coach. He would have you up against the wall if you were having a bad day but as soon as you left the changing room he would be your best mate. He kept your feet on the ground and encouraged you when you needed it.
What did you spend your first wage packet on?
I went to a shop in Birmingham and bought a DKNY jacket, it was about £140 and I haven't spent that much on a jacket since.
Does your squad number have a special meaning to you?
Not really. I started with 40 at Coventry and have been number two, and now I'm number 16, so not really. It did at school, I was number eight.
Who did you last swap shirts with?
I got Andrey Arshavin's shirt when Leyton Orient played Arsenal the season before last. For some reason, he didn't want mine in exchange.
How has the game changed for the better since you became a pro?
The game hasn't changed too much, if I'm honest. During pre-season, though, there are more scientific tests, even in npower League 2. That aspect of the game has certainly moved on since my early days.
If you could have coached yourself when you were a teenager, what advice would you have passed on?
Just to work hard and give 100 per cent and enjoy yourself. After a game, you don't want to come into the changing rooms thinking you could have ran a bit more or tried any harder. You have to give 100 per cent and enjoy yourself.
If you stay in the game at the end of your career, what will you do? a) Manager b) Coach c) Scout d) Physio e) Pundit?
I'd quite like to be a coach. I'm not sure about management yet, that may change in the future, but I wouldn't mind being a coach at a youth team level to start off with. I think I would enjoy watching and coaching up-and-coming kids in an academy.
What do you want to be best remembered for at the end of your career?
Just as a player that gave 100 per cent and somebody who did a job for the team no matter where they played on the pitch.
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