Welling United FC
Daniel John Wilks
|Date of Birth:|
|Place of birth:|
St Mirren FC
|2018 (on loan)|
Welling United FC
Been playing in goal since the age of 5, representing Arsenal and Watford up to the age of 9. I then decided to sign a contract with Watford and played with them till 18. Unfortunately, didn’t get offered after scholarship so made the trip up north to Glasgow to sign for St. Mirren playing in their 23’s and on the bench for the first team 36ish times. After a hip surgery and the realisation I needed to start playing men’s games that counted I moved to Maldon and Tiptree where I would train full time with Colchester United FC, they saw potential and Col U took me on loan my second year playing for their 23’s. I was loaned out to Whitehawk in the National South I decided to sign for till the end of the season. My manager at Whitehawk moved to Welling United FC who decided to take me with him, where I currently play now.
How do you prepare for an (important) competition? (music, rituals, etc.)
No specific ritual, the morning consists of chilled atmosphere on the journey to games casual chat/ bit of radio. Ten or so mins before arrival I’ll eat pre match meal and start to “get my football head on”.
What is the most important football lesson you have learned and who taught you that?
Can’t play football/any sports when you’re angry. Being a goalkeeper you get abuse from the fans it used to get to me when I was young and I wouldn’t be able to play my normal game but now it’s water of a ducks back.
Consistency is key. Being a goalkeeper any manager just wants solid performances. Last thing you want from a goalkeeper is 5/10 one week then 9/10 another. Any scouts/clubs watching over a few weeks they need to see consistent performances.
In the past you played football for Watford FC. How did you experienced the youth competencies?
My time at Watford was a good experience traveling with first team to fixtures and preseason tours. I knew I was in a good place with the youth policy they had in place pushing the youth. Towards the later period at Watford the Pozzo family took over and changed the youth system removing the 23’s which I felt halted my progression imo.
After your period at Watford FC. You played football in Scotland for St. Mirren FC. Was there a lot of difference between these country’s?
I thank St. Mirren so much for their help in my progression. I moved up there when I was 18, to live in a different country at that age was an eye opener and a life experience. They gave me to opportunity to be number two and experience that’s side of my progression being on the bench at against the likes of Rangers at Ibrox.
After your return to England, you was loaned to Colchester United were you played every game for their under twenty-threes. How did you experience these periods?
I enjoyed my time with Colchester Utd always nice to experience how different clubs are ran and how to play different styles of play. Always like learning from different coaches, different techniques and mindsets/views.
Daniel, you became a Welling United player in July 2018. How were you welcomed at Welling United?
Welcomed with open arms and becoming a fan favourite by winning fans player of the year in my first season.
What were your highs and lows during your football career?
My low will be having hip surgery towards the end of my time in Scotland. This was so hard to take as it was coming towards contract renewal and to sit on the side-line watching and rehab over the summer.
My high will be reaching the national south play off final vs Woking last year with Welling lost 1-0 but was a magic experience in front of 5,000 fans.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
I wouldn’t say I look up to anyone but there’s definitely goalkeepers I like and traits they have which I like to take bits of their game to add to mine.
Nick Pope, his career path is similar to mine playing through non-league.
Manuel Almunia, he was massive help in my development and will always remember his advice/tips from my time at Watford.
What are your personal goals this season?
Be consistent for the whole season. Remain a main player even though I’m young. Last summer I had sniffs and rumours of me getting a move higher league 1/2 which fell through. I’m confident, I’ll do enough to get a move in the summer.