Fed up of being a journeyman

TOM Aldred, at just 20, is too young to be considered a journeyman.

TOM Aldred, at just 20, is too young to be considered a journeyman.

But Colchester United’s latest recruit was beginning to dread being labelled as one of those much-travelled footballers – always on the move with no fixed abode.

That’s why Aldred sees his switch to the U’s, on a two-year deal, as a chance to start his career all over again.

In addition to former clubs Carlisle United and Watford, centre-half Aldred has also spent time on loan at Workington (non-league), Stockport County (then-League Two) and Inverness Caledonian Thistle (Scottish Premier League).

So it’s no wonder, then, that he is hoping to settle down in one place!

“It is like starting again,” admitted Aldred, whose move from Watford on a free transfer was rubber-stamped yesterday morning.

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“It feels like a start again for me, after all the loan moves, because I’ve been at three or four clubs since Carlisle.

“Whether those clubs have been the right moves or wrong moves, that’s for one to judge. Over the past year, I’ve enjoyed the experience of going here, there and everywhere.

“When you are young, I think that’s what happens. You move from club to club and it takes you a bit of time to find a club that you want to settle at. And I think this (Colchester United) is that club.

“I want to get settled, after being knocked from pillar to post over the last year. I want to get focused on football rather than focusing on where I’m going next,” added Aldred.

Bolton-born Aldred, who played for Scotland at under-19 level – he qualifies for Scotland on his mother’s side – is unlikely to burst straight into the U’s team.

Instead, he will look to make an impact in the weeks and months ahead. In fact, with senior centre-halves Magnus Okuonghae, Matt Heath and Pat Baldwin all approaching the end of their current contracts (all three deals expire next summer), Aldred could be seen as a long-term regular.

Together with Tom Eastman and Tom Bender (on loan at Accrington Stanley for the season), manager John Ward is planning his future on youth.

And Aldred revealed yesterday that he had come close to signing for the U’s a year ago.

“There was talk about me coming here (to Colchester) a year ago, obviously with the manager (John Ward) here from Carlisle,” continued Aldred. Ward was Cumbrians boss in 2007-08.

“At the time I felt it was a club that I wanted to come to.

“A year down the line and with the opportunity to come here came again, I didn’t want to turn it down a second time. I didn’t think twice about it,” concluded Aldred.