Nsiala: Bosses Have Played a Huge Part in My Career
Thursday, 9th Aug 2018 19:50
New Town defender Toto Nsiala has hailed the parts that both manager Paul Hurst and assistant Chris Doig have played in a career now firmly on the up.
Nsiala, 26, was released by Everton as a youngster but has fought his way back to within one level of the Premier League, with Hurst and Doig huge influences long before he was unveiled alongside ex-Shrewsbury team-mate Jon Nolan at Portman Road on Wednesday following a near-£2 million double deal with the League One club.
The DR Congo international said: “I’m very excited about this challenge. I’ve always said I wanted to play as high as possible in the game and when this chance, to play for my old gaffer, came along it was something I couldn’t turn down. I’ve known him, Doigy and Skitty for a while now.
“I’m just happy that I’m here now and going forward I’ll be challenging myself.
“I’m very happy that we were able to get it all sorted out and it’s been great to join the lads in training and look forward to the game at Rotherham on Saturday.”
Nsiala and boss Hurst go back a long way, to June 2014 when he signed for Grimsby on a one-year contract after spells with Accrington Stanley, Vietnamese club TDCS Dong Thap and non-league Southport, while a trial at Torquay the previous year came to nothing.
In his first season with the Mariners he was rarely absent as they finished third in the National League and were narrowly beaten in a penalty shoot-out by Bristol Rovers in the play-off final at Wembley.
He agreed a new 12-month deal and at the end of his second season he was celebrating as Hurst’s men returned to Wembley and wiped out the memory of the previous season’s defeat by beating Forest Green Rovers 3-1 to secure a return to the Football League.
Nsiala rejected a new contract at Grimsby to move to Hartlepool in 2016 on a two-year deal but within six months he was on his travels again, in January 2017 to Shrewsbury to team up again with Messrs Hurst and Doig as they successfully climbed off the bottom of League One to ensure their survival in the third tier.
Last season, as the Shrews mounted an unexpected promotion campaign, he was one of the stars of the show, although the season ended in painful defeat to Rotherham in the play-off final defeat at Wembley.
“The gaffer has played a huge part in my career,” said Nsiala. “He’s been patient with me and stuck up for me.
“That’s what he is like, he always backs his players and he’s a good man to work under. Doigy is the same, always pushing for more from the lads in terms of quality, whether it’s in training or in games.
“I’m just glad to be back with them again. The gaffer has played a massive role in making me the person and the player I am today, especially mentally, because he’s got that side of management covered. He and Doigy have really done well for me.
“There were times before I joined up with them when I didn’t really fancy continuing in football. Joining them at Grimsby made me want to carry on and play football again.
“Paul has always said that he believes in me, even more than I believe in myself. He thinks I can push on and do well at this level, and I’d obviously like to thank him for that. I’ll be working hard and giving my all for him and the club.”
Nsiala is doubly delighted that pal and former Shrewsbury colleague Nolan has accompanied him to Suffolk, adding: “We’ve known each other for years, since we were about 15 or 16 at Everton, and we’ve come through all the stages together.
“He’s a great lad but I sometimes think we’ve spent too much time together.
“I often go home and I find I’m acting like him and my missus doesn’t like it. He’s a good friend to have around and I’ve enjoyed my career alongside him.
“We were both let go by Everton but I don’t look back with any regrets. I’ve always said you shouldn’t regret anything that has happened in the past. There’s a reason why it happens.
“Maybe if I’d stayed longer at Everton I wouldn’t have the chance I have now. Every decision I’ve made in my career since then has worked perfectly, so I don’t have any regrets.
“I dropped down and had to build myself up again, massively. I think people doubt how much stronger and better you become when you drop down to the likes of the Conference.
“You have to man up and if I’m honest at that age I never thought I had that in me.
“It was a wake-up call and I didn’t even play football for a year or two. I had to start all over again in the Conference and when I look back it was probably the best thing that could have happened to me.”
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