Walker prepared for trade return

Liam Walker has become a hit with the Fratton faithful
Liam Walker has become a hit with the Fratton faithful

Liam Walker’s impact as a goalscoring substitute in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Carlisle would suggest he already has many of the tools he needs to make it as a professional footballer.

But the former builder and carpenter is a grounded character who knows he has a trade to fall back on if his Pompey dreams end up in the skip.

So it’s understandable that he’s got a few jobs lined up to keep him ticking over if things don’t work out at Fratton Park.

And Walker revealed that even his Blues team-mate, Shaun Cooper, has enquired about his rates for a bit of work he needs doing.

Walker, who caught Pompey’s eye while playing against them in a friendly for Gibraltar last summer, smiled: ‘Coops has got a place in Southsea and has asked me to go and do a couple of things for him.

‘I think he wants me to go round and give him a quote. But knowing what he’s like, he’s probably expecting me to do it for nothing!

‘Not that long ago, I was doing building work for my dad doing 8am to 5pm every day.

‘We were doing all sorts. His trade is carpentry and that was most of the stuff we were doing.

‘So it’s good to have something to fall back on if it doesn’t happen for me in football.

‘If I have to go back, I would do it.

‘But this is where I want to be. I am happy at this club.

‘It’s been a nice experience. It’s my first season in England and it’s a big club.

‘It’s been a big change for me.

‘I was playing in the league in Spain but I was working as well so I couldn’t dedicate myself 100-per-cent to my football.

‘But I don’t regret playing my football out there because I learnt a lot about technique and that side of the game.’

The modest 24-year-old is fast becoming a fans’ favourite at Fratton Park.

His eye for a pass and flashes of clever skill have helped him stand out a mile when he has played this season.

But in the bruising world of League One, Walker has sometimes been outmuscled by bigger and stronger opponents who are used to the more physical nature of the division, rather than the more technical surroundings of the Spanish Segunda division B group four, where he played for San Roque.

Walker’s natural instinct to look for a killer pass with almost every touch of the ball has left Guy Whittingham wrestling with how to best to use him as the caretaker boss tries to find the right balance to his side.

But whether it is for Walker’s Pompey roots – with his family from Cowplain – his down-to-earth nature or because he gives the team some flair, Blues fans are most definitely on his side.

Walker, who grew up in Gibraltar, said: ‘It’s nice to know the fans have the confidence in me.

‘I’m very thankful for all of that.

‘The minimum I can do for them is give 100-per-cent every time I go out on the pitch. And that is the minimum they ask for.

‘Everyone knows what’s happened here. Pompey deserve to be higher up.

‘The size of this club and the fans that are here definitely do not deserve to be a League Two club and that could be the case next season.

‘But we all know the situations that have been at the club.

‘Now we will all try to work as hard as we can so that the club gets back to where it deserves to be.’