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Focus on Hector!

First Team News
// 19 Feb 2011

Dundalk FC defender Michael Hector has revealed the whirlwind Monday which led to him making a loan move across the Irish Sea from English Championship club Reading. The 18-year-old centre-half arrived in Ireland on 1 February, but it was only five days earlier that he had learned about a possible switch to Dundalk, where he is initially set to spend until 30 June. However, the youngster, who admitted he is steadily settling into life at Oriel Park, stated that he would be “happy” to remain in Ireland for the full season.

Irish opportunity
“There were rumours of me coming over here on the Friday after training,” Hector told dundalkfc.com after he officially put pen to paper this week. “But they said it wasn’t confirmed yet. They weren’t sure if it was going to happen or not. Then at six o’clock on the Monday evening I got a phone call to come into the office and they said ‘you’re going to Ireland on Tuesday morning’. I didn’t pack too much and I didn’t really get to say goodbye to my family, properly, so it was a bit weird going straight away, not knowing about it. It was a bit difficult leaving my family without saying bye properly, but that’s what you have got to do.”

Settling in
Hector, however, returned home earlier this week to see his family. “I went back to see them on Tuesday,” he said. “I got back today (Thursday) from England. It was good. I got to say my goodbyes properly and that. I’m concentrating on here now. The lads have helped me settle in. At Reading, I’m the youngest and I get picked on a bit! But here, I think I’m the third youngest, so I don’t get bullied as much! It has been good. I know the names of the players now, and where I’m living is alright, so I’m happy at the moment. I have been getting used to the food as well; it’s a bit different to English food. It’s a little bit difficult with trying to sort out a bank account and a phone; it has been costing a lot to phone my parents back home. But I’m settling in alright.

Loan lessons
“I think we’re going to have a good season,” the East Ham native added. “There are some decent, young players here that I’m surprised aren’t at English clubs or haven’t been at English clubs.” This is Hector’s fifth loan spell away from Reading having already spent time at Havant & Waterlooville, Bracknell Town, Oxford City and most recently Horsham, and he feels that they have provided a valuable learning process. “All the loans I’ve gone on have taught me a lot about what football is going to be like,” he said. “If the manager doesn’t like you, if you’re not going to play, if you’re sitting on the bench etc. – I think all that helps you to learn for when you become a footballer and maybe you’re not the first-choice centre back or you’re not playing.

Maggs praise
“It teaches you how to react,” Big Hec added, “to train harder, doing extra training and stuff like that. All the loans I have been on have helped me in one way or another.” Hector also paid tribute to Horsham manager John Maggs. “I have to say thanks to John Maggs because without him I don’t think I would have been confident,” the Londoner said, “because I wasn’t playing that much. I was only playing a couple of reserve games at Reading. Thanks to John, I started playing better with the reserves and I started training better with the first team. If I make it as a footballer, I will go back and see Horsham because I dedicate quite a lot to them because they did a lot for me.”

Rovers debut
Hector has played in four pre-season friendlies for Dundalk so far and is in line for his competitive debut next Tuesday when the Lilywhites take on Shamrock Rovers in the Leinster Senior Cup at Oriel Park. The 18-year-old officially signed for the club on Thursday, and when asked if he would like to remain at the border venue for the entire season, he said: “I don’t think it’s down to me, I think it’s down to Reading, what they want to do. I’ll be happy to stay for the whole season if that’s the case. Hopefully, I’ll stay, but let’s see how it goes.” Hector was in the stand for last Monday’s 5-3 win over Linfield in the Setanta Sports Cup, and reflecting on the goal-fest, he commented: “It was brilliant; probably the best game I’ve watched. It was really, really good. The fans were brilliant. I was surprised we scored five goals. It was a special game – I’ll always remember it.”

Michael Hector – Interesting Facts
Full name: Michael Anthony James Hector
Position(s): Centre back
Date of Birth: 19 July 1992
Place of Birth: Newham, London
Hometown: East Ham, London
Honours: None
Former Clubs: Millwall, Thurrock Youth, Havant & Waterlooville, Bracknell Town, Oxford City, Horsham
Nationality: English
Can qualify for: England or Jamaica
Height: 193 cm (6ft3)
Weight: 82 kg
Preferred foot: Right
Boot size: 11

Strengths: Comfortable on the ball, passing & one-on-one defending
Score many goals: A few
Nicknames: High Tower or Big Hec
I play a bit like: Rio Ferdinand
Biggest influence: Zinedine Zidane
Siblings: One brother, Matthew (21)
Father ever play football: No
Languages: English
Marital Status/Kids: Single/None

Favourite team: Chelsea FC
Favourite player: Rio Ferdinand
Favourite manager: Jose Mourinho
Your childhood football hero: Zinedine Zidane
Favourite stadium: Nou Camp
Best moment in football: Signing my first professional contract with Reading
Best player I’ve played with: Gylfi Sigurdsson (currently TSG 1899 Hoffenheim)
Best player I’ve played against: Charlie Austin (currently Swindon Town FC)

Describe yourself in 3 words: Laid back, funny, charming
Favourite meal: Mum’s roast with mince
Favourite drink: Ribena strawberry
Favourite holiday destination: Florida
Favourite Games Console & Video Game: PS3 and FIFA
Dream car: Cadillac Escalade

Hidden talents: Good at tennis and cricket
Fears: Singing in front of people
I dream of: Meeting Zinedine Zidane
If I wasn’t a footballer, I’d be: Cricketer or something in sport
Sportsperson I most admire outside football: Tiger Woods
Favourite sport outside football: Basketball

Favourite film: Coach Carter
Favourite actor & actress: Denzel Washington & Jessica Alba
Favourite TV programme: Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Chicks: Megan Good & Christiana Milian
Favourite artist & song: Drake – Miss Me
Favourite colour: Blue
Favourite cartoon as a child: Recess
In five years’ time, I’ll be: hopefully still playing football