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Career ladder: Andy Halliday

6 May 2013

Name: Andy Halliday
Position: Winger
Date of Birth: 11/10/1991
Club: Middlesbrough
Previous Clubs: Livingston, Walsall (loan).

What do you remember about your first ever match?
I was 15 and still at school when I came off the bench for Livingston for the last 35 minutes of a Scottish First Division game against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park. I'd done double PE the day before. We were losing 3-1 and eventually went down 4-2 to St Johnstone, who had just been promoted. There was a 12,000 crowd there so it was a good atmosphere.

Who was your childhood hero?
Paul Gascoigne. When I was growing up, he was the main man of his generation. He also played for Rangers, which is the team I have supported since I was a boy. Paul was a great player and a massive personality. I used to model myself on him as a youngster. I remember having my picture taken with him.

When did you realise you had a chance to progress in the game?
I'm 21 now and feel I still have a lot of progress to make as a player. I've spent most of my career as a winger but have played full-back this season, so I am progressing in a different position.

The time when I realised I could make a career in the game was when I was offered my first pro contract at Livingston when I was 15. I don't feel I have done anything in the game to boast about yet. I'm still a work in progress.

Which coach has had the biggest influence on your career?
Scott Allison at Livingston. It was a big blow when I was released by Rangers when I was 14. I became a bit disillusioned with football and didn't play for three or four months. It was Scott who persuaded me to give it another go at Livingston. He brought me on leaps and bounds and I'll always be grateful to him.

The other figure I have to mention is Gordon Strachan, because he brought me to Boro.

What did you spend your first wage packet on?
It was £69, so not a lot! I gave it to my mum, as I did with my first wage packet at Middlesbrough. She has been such a big help in my career.

Does your squad number have a special meaning to you?
Not really. I'm 18 at the moment but I'd love to be eight. Probably that's a sub-conscious thing because Paul Gascoigne used to wear eight, but it's also my favourite number.

Who did you last swap shirts with?
Frank Lampard. We played them in the FA Cup at the Riverside this season and I made sure I got in early for his shirt. I can't speak highly enough of him - he's an absolute gentleman. Frank is one of the biggest names in the game yet he took time out to speak to me for a good 10 minutes. He was asking me all about my career and I found out he was a Rangers fan.

How has the game changed for the better since you became a pro?
I think the game has become a lot more athletic. I also think the British game in general has a lot to learn from other countries such as Germany.

If you could have coached yourself when you were a teenager, what advice would you have passed on?
I think I had a mature head on from quite an early age. I was lucky because the older pros at Livingston were there to grab me by the scruff of the neck if I stepped out of line.

Youngsters need to learn that they get a lot early in football but it is a short career. You can't afford to get into a comfort zone and you have to make the most of the chances you get. You always have to remember your roots and where you come from.

If you stay in the game at the end of your career, what will you do? a) Manager b) Coach c) Scout d) Physio e) Pundit?
Pundit. The media side sounds the most attractive option from that list.

What do you want to be best remembered for at the end of your career?
That I made the most of my career and was an all-round good guy. Obviously I would like something to show for it - if not medals, then a measure of success.

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