Lewis Kinsella: ‘I need to make a name for myself at Colchester, and prove Aston Villa wrong.’
Lewis Kinsella was helping out his uncle, a plumber, with some part-time work before Colchester United intervened to sign him for this season.
Released by Aston Villa at the end of last season, Kinsella struggled to find a new club due to a mixture of bad luck and bad choices.
But now the 21-year-old left-back is looking forward to hopefully making his home debut against Cambridge United this afternoon, having made his U’s debut in the opening day 1-1 draw at Hartlepool last weekend.
“I was sitting at home thinking I wasn’t going to end up with a club, so I’m over-the-moon to be here at a massive club like Colchester,” enthused Kinsella.
“I was at Aston Villa for five years, and before that at Arsenal from the under-eights and until the under-16s, before getting released.
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“I had been wanting to get out on loan from Villa for a long time, but it was harder than it looked.
“A lot of players my age here at Colchester have played nearly 100 games, and yet I’ve only played four!
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“I need much more experience and that’s where I want to be, up there playing 100 games.”
Recalling his summer struggle to find a new club, Kinsella contined: “I was searching for a club. My agent, David Lee, who is from around here, found us two clubs. I had offers from both of them, in the league, but it didn’t work out.
“I went and met both managers. I picked one of the clubs, and I was ringing the manager to ask him when I was going to sign, but he just completely turned his phone off.
“I had already turned down the other offer, and then they have gone and signed another left-back, so I was left wondering what I was going to do now.
“I went off to Swindon first, for a week’s training because I had missed a lot of the summer. I also had a week’s training at Luton, rather than a trial, but they had a big squad and so I was struggling.
“The not-knowing was bad, not knowing when the next pay-check was coming.
“I was working for my uncle, plumbing part-time just to earn a bit of cash over the summer in case nothing happened anywhere.
“But I’m so happy to have got something, and I’m loving it at Colchester.
“I think I’m a lot better footballer than a plumber!” added Kinsella.
Kinsella, who moved from Arsenal to Villa Park in 2011, never actually made a senior appearance for Villa.
Instead, he played just three games on loan at Luton Town, two seasons ago, and earlier this year made 13 outings for Kidderminster Harriers in the National League.
Otherwise, though, he has had to make do with playing in low-key matches for Aston Villa Reserves, hardly ideal for a young player trying to make his way in the professional game.
And long-term, Kinsella wants to rattle up hundreds of league appearances during his career, to prove that Villa were wrong to release him.
“I’d love to have played for the first team at Villa, and I was very lucky when I got on the bench and stuff like that,” explained Kinsella.
“But that’s gone now. I’m at Colchester now and I need to make a name for myself here and prove Villa wrong.
“I’m sad to see Villa not doing so well, because I have a lot of friends still there. I hope they turn it around, but at the end of the day they released me so I have no strings to the club now.
“It’s a case of making up for lost time for me. I just want to play games and I want to end my career having played 400 or 500 games, that’s my main aim. I think I’ve been held back in recent years. Young players need to go out on loan and play proper games.
“Otherwise, they get stuck in a system when you are just a reserve team player who occasionally travels with the first team.
“You need to be playing man’s football, in competitions that mean something. You need to test yourself.
“In League Two, men’s livelihoods are at stake. It’s their jobs and they have to pay their way for their families.
“If they drop down a league, then there’s a chance they might have to go part-time,” added Kinsella.
Matt Briggs’ long-term hip injury, which required surgery, has given Kinsella the chance to become the U’s regular left-back this season, following his arrival on a one-year-contract at the end of last month.
It certainly beats part-time plumbing!