Already a long-standing member of Manchester Futsal Club’s First team at the grand age of 22, Giles Collier who is entering his 4th season with the club, has to date experienced many highs and lows throughout his sporting career.
What strikes me in our meeting is how reserved he is. From changing room chatter he is somewhat known for being quite hot-headed and prone to outbursts on the court.
“I would say I’m a very misleading character, and I am quiet until you get to know me”
But this notorious ‘bad attitude’ is something that he has been working hard on to control and he has already seen a massive turnaround in his performance this season.
“I’ve had a bit of a tough time trying to behave properly and get my act together on the court”.
“The actions that I had stemmed from me and the anger I felt against myself when I made a mistakeon the court during a game. What I didn’t realise was what an effect they were having on the whole team. If I made a mistake during the game, I wanted to just get off the court but I know now that isn’t the way to deal with it”.
“I’m a perfectionist, I don’t know if that stems from having a dad who was a professional footballer (because I have a lot to aspire to), but I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the best that I can be on court”.
Giles’s football career started at an early age, as when he was only 7 years old he was scouted by Manchester City Football Academy
“My dad thought I was too young as he wanted me to just enjoy playing and not feel that pressure at such an early age, so I carried on playing for local teams and got picked up from there”
His next stage saw him play academy football with Rochdale from the ages of 10 to 14 years old. This was followed by a move to Liverpool Academy. His time with the club didn’t lead to a scholarship and it also saw him take a step back from playing football at a high standard.
“When I started college, I played some football there but it was nothing major. I was studying to become a coach at the time and took part in a FA Youth Module Coaching Course which is where I got my break into Futsal. The woman who was running the course saw me playing and said have you thought about playing Futsal?”
“I knew a bit about Futsal so my initial thought was I might as well try it, because I wasn’t really playing much football apart from at college”.
This led onto Giles’s first introduction to Manchester Futsal Club.
“It’s amazing the way the club has developed now, when I started we didn’t have a development team or a youth academy established”
“When I went for a trial, there was the first team and only five other players, I attended one session and then next thing I was in the first team. I managed to just fit right in”.
Although joining MFC was his first time playing Futsal properly, growing up he got a lot of stealth learning just from playing in the streets.
“Where I lived in Rochdale all of my friends would be out playing football in the streets. We would use street nameplates as a net, and as the gap was so small that’s how I worked on my technique. The only way to score was to either meg people or do a skill before a shot. It conditioned me to play differently and I had to be very tactical, a lot of 1 V 1’s. I always had the ball at my feet growing up”.
The sporting heroes he had growing up, people like Ronaldinhoand Neymar both have links to playing Futsal for how they attained their skills.
His sporting life could have taken a different turn though,
“I used to play table tennis at school and I was actually really good at it! The teachers put me forward to play and I ended up playing for Rochdale County, I had to give it up because of my other training commitments but I’m still a pretty good player now!”
His love of PE at school led him to choose a coaching course at college
“I always wanted to be a coach in the back of my mind, and when I joined MFC Ilya helped me to develop that. I started by shadowing him and then I became under 12’s coach for a year, and I’m now head coach for 2 under 12 teams
Thinking about his coaching role at the Manchester Futsal Academy he also notes why it is important that he keeps his temper under control on the pitch.
“I need to be setting an example for this young kids that I’m training. I want them to watch the games and use them as inspiration for them to train harder. Also I find now with the development team starting to filter into the first team I like to pass on advice so that they don’t make the same mistakes that I did”.
“Everyone says it but when you a part of the team it’s more like a family, with everyone in the club. We all get along well and encourage each other. Now we’re playing more to a system as well, we’ve got more guidance than we had previously and working under Sergi’s strategies has really helped us all”.
Giles reflects on one of the best moments of his Futsal career, which is also tinged with regret.
“It was my first call up to the England team, and the camp with the seniors playing in the friendly against Derby and also against Bouermouth Reserves Football Club at St Georges Park representing the under 23’s”
“I had this incredible opportunity and I basically wasted it. I got angry during the games and I stormed off”
“I know that in any team this type of behaviour isn’t acceptable, but especially being a representative of the England team, I feel like I let myself and the team down”.
“I would love the opportunity to get back on the England radar, my future goal is definitely working towards getting a slot back into the England U23’s squad”
When we talk about how he is going about this he has a definite vision of what he needs to be doing to get himself back up to those levels.
“I’m really working on my attitude now, I can see where I want my future to go. Also Sergi is helping me to change my attitude both on and off the court. The start of this season I have noticed a difference and I think my teammates around me have to”.
“Training with the lads, the camaraderie that is what brings me back week after week. I can see that I am improving both in my attitude and my skills. I keep coming back to training to make myself better and I give 100% every time”
Away from the court Giles is your typical young lad spending his weekends and free times hanging out with friends, listening to music like Lil Uzi Vert and Trippie Redd, Playboi Carti, PnB Rock and Tory Lanez
“I love Manchester, it’s the Arndale centre for the daytime and Spinningfields at night time”
“I’m pretty quiet and keep myself to myself. I have a small group of friends but I’d rather be that way”
He is also somewhat known on the team for his fashion sense
“I think my style sense come from my mum, she’s always been into her fashion but it was always quite bizarre. I don’t know a lot about women’s fashion but when I was younger and I would be out with her, people would always comment on what she was wearing, everyone liked it, she made her own styles and trends”
“I do the same things myself now, Zara is one of my favourite shops but the clothes I buy I put my own twist onto, I create my own style”.
With the next game day approaching we chat about how he prepares himself for them
“I don’t have any pre-match rituals, I just go with the flow when it comes to game day, turn up, give it all I’ve got and see what happens”
He definitely seems to have found his home at Manchester Futsal Club, and the transition from boy to man is clear to see as he overcomes his inner demons.
He’s hungry for more and willing to do what it takes to get there and if he keeps on with this more disciplined approach he’s definitely one to watch in the future of Futsal.
“It’s taken me a while to mature, but I know I’m ready for it now. I train hard, I focus and I have a goal I’m working towards. To get another England call up would be a step in the right direction to achieving my goal ”.
Catch Giles and the rest of the First Team in their next home game against Cambridge United Futsal Club on Sunday 25thNovember at The HSBC National Cycling Centre
Tickets available online at www.manchesterfutsalshop.com