We all love a random overseas signing, don’t we?
For those of you questioning the quality of the current squad, I still vividly remember 12 years ago when Notts fans – desperate for some sort of boost – were in uproar when Magpies boss Gudjon Thordarson opted not to sign Singapore international trialist Noh Alam Shah after a decent showing in a friendly against Gresley. When your most memorable player of a season is a trialist, you know you’re in trouble.
The summer of two years ago carried a special kind of excitement as a raft of Dutch and Belgian stars* left their respective top flights to come and play in League Two under Ricardo Moniz.
And now, we have someone who’s made a slightly shorter journey, 29-year-old Liam Walker; Gibraltar’s no.10.
A week on from Kevin Nolan desperately trying to keep his identity under wraps following a mixed showing against Forest, the former Portsmouth midfielder is now a permanent addition.
— Josh (@JTidy_) July 22, 2017
Calling it a ‘random’ signing is meant as no slight on Walker; ‘trial by Wikipedia’ very rarely works at this level. To my eternal shame, I wrote at length last summer praising the recruitment of John Sheridan in signing seven proven players at this level, all of whom then massively underwhelmed under the man that brought that them here. I described Alex Rodman as on the up; I welcomed Carl Dickinson with open arms and called him the captain-elect. Pre-judging a signing – good or bad – is a very dangerous game.
Luckily, we have people who’ve seen quite a lot of our latest addition on-hand to give their judgement. But, such is the unique nature of this signing, this isn’t the usual fanzine of his outgoing club. This is contributors for the FA of the country he plays for. So, not exactly impartial observers. But the actual FA!
Thanks to the kind folk at @FootballGib for answering our questions.
How would you describe Liam Walker as a player?
Technically Liam Walker is the best player in Gibraltar. We have watched him over the last three seasons get better and better, put in some world class performances & score some terrific goals. His eye for a pass is second to none and deserves everything he has achieved so far.
What would you consider to be his biggest strengths and weaknesses?
Liam’s biggest strengths are his passing ability and free-kicks. We saw against Celtic last season that he can ping the ball wherever you want (a striker’s heaven) and his constant training of set plays has made him a constant threat against any side.
What would you consider his best position?
Liam has played the majority of the season with Europa as a right winger and for the national side in central midfield. From what we’ve seen in recent reasons, he is perfect for the Number 10 role.
Are you surprised he’s returned to play in England at this stage of his career? Any concerns of him handling this level?
We aren’t surprised whatsoever. Liam has shown over the last three seasons that he has the ability to play in a higher league and we’re positive he will fit right in at Notts County.
What level would you equate the level he was playing at to in England?
The level in Gibraltar is good and getting better every season but I would say we could compare our league to maybe the 5th or 6th Division in UK.
What are you expecting from him this season?
We are all hoping he takes full advantage of the chance Kevin (Nolan) has given him and performances to the best of his ability and solidifies a starting spot at Notts County
He’s led a fairly nomadic career; what would you put this down to?
The level of football in Spain is far higher than in Gibraltar and to earn a spot at such a young age is difficult. With age he improved and was rewarded with a move to Portsmouth. He continued to play abroad for a few more years before returning to Gibraltar.
Are there any other hidden gems in the Gibraltar national side we should be looking out for?
Another gem which we believe can follow Liam is Joseph Chipolina who currently plays for Lincoln Red Imps. Joseph plays as a left-back; powerful, quick and has an eye for goal, finished the last three seasons with over 10 goals!
Follow our new friends from Gibraltar on Twitter – https://twitter.com/FootballGib.