Keith Andrews shares an anecdote to illustrate just how "horrendous" the food situation was in his digs

Ex-Ireland midfielder tells Team 33 about early struggles after moving to Wolves in 1995

BY Raf Diallo 14:19 Wednesday 23 November 2016, 14:19 23 Nov 2016

Keith Andrews, Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2002. Picture by Tony Marshall EMPICS Sport

In the space of a couple of weeks in 1995, five Irish players made the move from these shores to Wolverhampton Wanderers to begin life in the youth team.

Former Ireland players Keith Andrews and Robbie Keane were part of that quintet.

The trip to the UK's clubs is one made by many young Irish footballers and an experience we spoke to ex-Ireland striker Stephen Elliott about on Newstalk's Team 33 in the context of Manchester City.

Last week, Andrews was at the launch of the SPAR FAI Primary School 5s Programme in Aviva Stadium and spoke to Team 33 about how hard it was to adapt when he first moved to Wolves over two decades ago.

"Not well," said Andrews on how he adapted in those early months.

"A lot of the times it was very difficult. I think when you're playing Saturday-Saturday and your training structure is in place during the week and you've no injuries, then I think it's OK - and you're starting games.

"As soon as you're a sub or as soon as you pick up an injury and you're three or four weeks out, you get thrown out of sync."

You can listen to the full chat including his thoughts on his former manager Paul Ince and ex-Ireland team-mate Glenn Whelan on the podcast player or stream for free on iTunes:

"Certainly when I was of that age, there were more alcohol-related [problems for players], players were gambling and there were more pitfalls in terms of off the pitch. I don't think it's as big a problem as it was then.

"It's a very difficult period. I know social media and technology has moved on since I moved over all those years ago in terms of when they want to be in contact with their families, it's a lot more accessible. Flights are cheaper etc. And I think clubs are probably now more aware of the bigger picture in terms of these players are assets so 'does it matter if we send them home a little bit more to ensure that they settle better?' So I think clubs are better in this day and age."

He also shared a few first-hand examples from his own Wolves experience.

"It was still difficult. The first digs I was in, the food was horrendous. I was on £42 or £50 a week when I first started, spending it all on food because the food was that bad in the digs, I had to get moved," he told me.

"I remember one time being on the phone to my parents and they ordered me a pizza on the phone paid for by credit card to get delivered to the digs. These type of little issues where you don't really want to be going into the club and creating drama. But equally it's so important, certainly nutrition wise. You're a professional footballer and your food is getting dug out of a freezer from Iceland."


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