New boy Josh Walker feels right at home with Edinburgh City
It isn't just points Edinburgh City are collecting at an impressive rate, but players of real pedigree after former Middlesborough, Aberdeen and England Under-20 midfielder Josh Walker signed for the club.
The one-time Watford loanee has penned an 18-month deal at Meadowbank, although he is unlikely to feature immediately as he regains fitness. Walker will add yet more quality in the middle of the park for manager Gary Jardine, who just last month tied up Marc Laird on a longer-term deal.
In addition to the arrivals of Craig Beattie and Calum Antell in the summer, City are recruiting extensive professional as well as international experience. Indeed, it is partly thanks to Beattie that Jardine has been able to add Walker to his ranks.
“I was playing in India for the last couple of years but got an injury last January,” Walker explained. “I missed all the season there so came back and was trying to get myself fit when I got a call from Craig Beattie. I’ve known Beats for a few years from when we were at Watford and he asked if it was okay if the gaffer gave me a call, and it just went from there really.
“I spoke with him about two months ago before meeting face-to-face and we had a good chat about things. It snowballed from there and I’m delighted it’s all gone through.”
It, of course, helps that Walker, his partner and two children were already based in the Capital, and was well aware of the ‘City story’ before deciding to help continue it.
“I probably took more notice of them since they came up,” he admitted. “When they came up they signed Beats so I started following them on Twitter and keeping an eye on their results, so it’s a team I’ve known of for a while.
“I did have options to stay in full-time football but things have to be right in every aspect now. I’ve got a young family – two kids and my partner – we’re all in Edinburgh. I’ve been away pretty much my whole career and I just felt this opportunity I’d been given was too good to turn down. So I thought: ‘let’s be part of something and let’s see what we can do’. I’m looking forward to getting fit, showing people I still play football and getting started.”
The 29-year-old will bring a wealth of experience, having played for 11 clubs in total, both permanently and on loan. Having most recently been with Bengaluru in India, he is more travelled than most of Jardine’s squad.
“I was in India for two years and the first season was brilliant,” he recalled. “It went really well both for the team and on a personal level so I signed a new deal for last summer. Then injury hit me at the beginning of the season which put a halt to all that, but it’s given me an opportunity to come back home. I’m over the moon, especially with the year I’ve had with injury, to be lucky enough to be given a contract and I just want to prove a few people wrong.”
One group of fans Walker won’t have to prove much to is Aberdeen. During a loan spell at Pittodrie in early 2008, he notched his first career goal to put the Dons 1-0 up against Bayern Munich, the two eventually playing out a 2-2 draw in a UEFA Cup group game.
Not surprisingly, the Geordie has fond memories of the ‘other’ North East. “It was brilliant, I really enjoyed at time up at Aberdeen,” he enthused. “It was my second loan spell away from Middlesborough and I played some good games up there. The lads were brilliant and Jimmy Calderwood and Jimmy Nicholl were great, great football people. I learned a lot up there and art was a great experience.”
Regardless of past exploits, Walker faces a job on his hands forcing his way in to City team that’s unbeaten since October 15.
“There’s competition for places and the team’s doing really well,” he said. “I’ve got to work hard to get myself in there. It’s a team on the up and great move for me at the right time.”