Released Oxford United midfielder Aaron McCreadie opens up on decision to join Gosport Borough over Gillingham trial
Aaron McCreadie is confident Gosport Borough can provide him with the perfect platform to return to the professional game after his Oxford United release.
And the midfielder insisted the opportunity to regularly test himself in men's football could give him an advantage in the long term.
Borough boss Shaun Gale pulled off a real coup attracting the 19-year-old to Privett Park after his U's release.
McCreadie even turned down a trial at League One outfit Gillingham in favour of joining Gosport.
The midfield man, who was signed by hometown club Oxford at the age of eight, instead wants to prove himself in the non-league pyramid.
And after a brief loan spell under former boss Lee Molyneaux before the premature ending of the 2019/20 Southern League Premier Division South campaign, McCreadie is adamant Gosport is the best place for him to do that.
‘I had quite a few things to chose from but because of Covid everything was up in the air,' he said.
‘I had time to think about what I should do.
‘I was going to go to Gillingham and trial but then I spoke to Galey (Shaun Gale) and I decided that would be best for me.
‘A lot of the boys at Gosport are a lot older and have a lot of experience so I listened to what they were saying.
‘They just said ‘come and play as many games as possible and try to get a move back up,’ which is what I’ve done.
‘I just want to develop as much as I can this year at Gosport and try to get a move back up into full-time football.
‘I’ll kept myself in good shape and still keep a professional attitude.
‘Coming to men’s football, the intensity and demand of men’s football, you don’t realise until you play that just because it’s not full-time, it’s still a real test.
‘I learn more out of a men’s game then an under-23s.'
For many youngsters, being released by the club you've spent 10 years at from such an early age would be a bitter blow.
But McCreadie actually feels the coronavirus outbreak worked to his advantage.
With the club shutdown, he was told of his release - after his one-year pro contract expired - over the phone rather than in person.
McCreadie revealed he's quickly brushed it off, though, and is now focusing on the future.
‘It was weird because of Covid I just got a phone call saying I’d been released,' he added.
‘If I was actually still there, as in training every day and we had a meeting, I think I would have been a bit more put out by it.
‘They rang me up and told me I wouldn’t be getting a new deal, I haven’t really looked back. I haven’t been angry or upset and it hasn’t really knocked my confidence.
‘I just need to take the next step, make a good choice.
‘My mindset is I want to work as hard as I can, do all I can and see where it takes me.'