21 year old winger Danny O’Brien has left Wigan Athletic to take on a new adventure playing his football in Finland to search for game-time and kick start his career.
O’Brien signed for Wigan Athletic upon his release from Aston Villa in 2014, and was a regular in the Latics development squad.
O’Brien spent time out on loan with National League side Chester FC in two different spells. O’Brien scored his first professional goal with the Blues, and impressed in his first spell at the club.
At the weekend, O’Brien was recalled by Wigan Athletic and was subsequently released to make way for the move to Nårpes Kraft FF, who play in the Kakkonen, which is the Finnish football’s second division.
O’Brien kindly spoke to AllOutAttack to reflect upon his time at Wigan Athletic, Chester FC and the challenge of playing football in Finland.
O’Brien is delighted to have the opportunity to play in Finland and said “I’m very excited to start this new adventure, it’s something I’ve always been interested in doing (taking my career abroad) and now the opportunity has come I can’t wait to get started and see the difference between the english game and the game abroad”
O’Brien, said the influence of his friend impacted his decision to join Napres Karft FF as he explains how the opportunity came about to join the club.
O’Brien tells us “The opportunity came about through a contact over in finland, another english lad playing over her in the top division, but was once at the same team I’ve just signed for, Napres Karft FF
The 21 year old found out that he was not going to be offered a new contract by Wigan Athletic, and therefore had the initiative to find a new club as soon as he can.
“The reason why I’ve gone to Finland is to stay involved in football, with me knowing I wasn’t getting a new deal at wigan, I knew I had to take action, and seeing as the Finnish league is just about to start, iI thought I could go over there to play, and sign knowing I would be able to come back in July(to England) if I want to and I’ll be match fit during pre season, meaning I’ll be fitter than most of the English teams or other teams in Europe”
As a young lad, Danny O’Brien understands that it will be difficult to move abroad due to the language barriers however he’s hoping the common love for football will help him find his feet.
O’Brien said, “Living in a different country is going to be a lot different, they speak a different language and have a different way of life,but with football that is the one thing I will have in common with everyone, and that will make things easier I would imagine, I feel I need to take this opportunity at the age I’am to see abit of the world and with my football I’m lucky enough to do it as a job”
Despite his release from the club, O’Brien still has high thoughts of Wigan Athletic and very thankful of his time at the club.
“i loved my time at Wigan, I’m very proud to say I’ve made my debut for my local club, if someone would of asked me about being able to do that just once a few years ago I’d of said that’s more than enough for me, Wigan took a chance with me after having a few tough seasons at Aston Villa, and I’m very grateful for that”
O’Brien has fond memories in particular of his debut at Oldham Athletic in the EFL Cup as a second half substitute.
“My favourite moment for Wigan will be making my debut against Oldham, although it was a bad result for the club but on that night I wasn’t even expecting to be on the bench. To get on and play for my local club in front of my family and friends was a dream come true, no matter how short lived it was”
O’Brien has also tipped Latics development squad captain Luke Burke to be a success at Wigan, after his impressive performances for the Latics at the start of the season.
On being asked who he feels which fellow Wigan youngsters can be successful in the first team set up, O’Brien commented “I think its got to be Luke Burke, the lad jumped onto the scene at the start of the season and in my view he should be playing week in week out for wigan, he’s the one to watch for me, but there a lot of talented footballers in the academy, thats for sure”
Danny O’Brien was also thankful of his time at Chester FC, in which he spent two spells on loan with the Blues although he admits he is disappointed that it wasn’t as successful as his first spell.
“Chester is a club I regard very highly, they were the first team to give me a proper chance at first team football and it is the team I scored my first professional goal with, hence the reason why I went back there this season. This time it didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped but that’s football”
In his final note, we asked Danny what are the best pieces of advice he’s been given throughout his career to hopefully help the future generation learn aspects of the professional game if they want to become a footballer.
“I’ve had two great pieces of advice in my career,one old local team coach said to me as a kid, if you can only use one foot, you are only half a player. However the biggest piece of advice I’ve had is that with football, you have to laugh, because if you don’t, you’ll cry. Football is the best but also the hardest job in the world, fans only see what happens on a Saturday, they forget how much hard work and sacrifices what go into even getting to a club and getting a scholarship never mind actually getting a professional contract and making it as a footballer. There is a lot more downs that ups in football, so you have to enjoy the good times, and just try to be strong and laugh off the bad times knowing you’ll find a way back to your best”.
Danny O’Brien was fantastic to interview, and we wish him all the best in his new adventure in the Finish Football Leagues.
Written by Jay Whittle