This week we sat down with Wrexham’s Shaun Pearson to discuss his career so far, memorable moments and the influence his dad has had on him.
Thanks for talking to us Shaun. First of all, where did football start for you?
It started in grassroots like a lot of kids, played school football, I had a couple of trials at academies, failed. Looking back I’m probably pleased I failed because it helped me to progress, it really did, it was a good experience to learn from.
From there I went on to college football and had 2 of the best years of my life especially football wise, I was lucky with the coaches I had there as they were perfect for me and I enjoyed playing for them. Since then I’ve been in the men’s game, starting at the sort of North East Counties level as it is around here, and I worked my way up from there. Evo-stik, Division 1, Premier, Conference North, Conference Premier, League 2, so I’ve been very fortunate but I’ve worked very hard along the way.
Was there a certain person that inspired you or helped you get into football? Or was there a moment when you thought ‘you know what, this is what I want?’
My dad is my biggest influence football wise, I mean he’s no good (dad might have something to say about that!), but he loved playing and we both love football full stop. I mean forget the level we are playing or anything like that we are both football obsessed, so I most probably just got it from him.
So you’ve come up through grassroots, college, but then you’ve stepped into the men’s game. Can you remember your first game in men’s football, or remember a debut you’ve made for a certain club?
Well in terms of bigger clubs, I’ve just signed for Wrexham so I’ve not made my debut there yet, I’ve got that to look forward to, I’ve been at Grimsby for the last 6 years and I’ve loved it there. But my first game in men’s football was for Downham Market, we were away at a team called Gallstone and we won 2-0, and that was a big moment for me you know at the time I was only 18. In terms of moments, getting promoted at Boston was a massive achievement at a club that was probably a bit below where it should have been, but I look back on that with massive pride. And then obviously Grimsby getting promoted there, they were 2 great moments.
You’ve just mentioned some big moments in your career, at Tecnica we tell the kids that football is a game of moments where you might remember a goal, a tackle, the final whistle. Are there any that stand out from your career so far?
Walking out at Wembley for the first time was by far the best moment of my career, probably better than getting promoted, better than anything, you know the pride I felt. In terms of actually in a game, I’d say scoring in the FA Cup against Northampton, I put us 1-0 up with not long left so that was a great feeling.
You’ve just signed for Wrexham, but you enjoyed 6 years at Grimsby Town, and other teams before that. So who’s the best player you’ve played with? And the best you’ve played against?
I’d have to say Danny Collins, you know I’ve played with him and he’s got great ability, but you only have to look at what he’s achieved. He’s got over 50 caps for Wales and played numerous games in the Premier League. In terms of players I’ve played against, we played Derby last year in the Capital One Cup and Tom Ince was very good, Will Hughes is a huge talent, and I like my technical players so I’d have to say someone along those lines off the top of my head.
Looking ahead now, you’ve signed for Wrexham, what are your aspirations going forward?
Getting promoted. It’s as simple as that really, this will be their tenth year out of the Football League and for a club that size it shouldn’t be down there so ultimately we want to get promoted. From a personal point of view I want to play as many games as possible and help get us up.
You’ve been around the game a few years now, played at various levels, was made captain at Grimsby, so you’ve got vast experience. So what advice would you give to any young kids getting involved in the game?
Just to love it. Not just to enjoy it in its simplest sense, but enjoy everything about it. Even the bits that are hard in football, you know the bits where you actually have to work hard, enjoy that part of it. Enjoy working on your game and trying to better yourself, go and achieve something, love it and live it basically.
Finally Shaun, we play a lot of small sided games and futsal at Tecnica. So can you pick a 5 a side team including 3 players you’ve played with and 2 player you wish you played with?
Right for players I’ve played with I’ll go with Jake McEwan in goal, Craig Disley centre midfield because we were all together at Grimsby for the 6 years and we’ve become very close mates. But both are top players to be fair. I’d put Pogd Hammond in their because he’ll always get you a goal as a striker. I’d love to play with Luka Modric, unbelievable ability I mean what a talent. And I’d have to say Paul Scholes, I’m a massive United fan but take that out of it, he was incredible and I don’t think he got the credit he deserved when he was playing.
And my favourite gaffer I’ve worked with would have to be Paul Hirst, I’ve had 8 years with him and we had a great working relationship. Even when he dropped me he was honest and spoke to me man to man which I really appreciated, he’s a top bloke.
We would like to thank Shaun for agreeing to talk to us and wish him, and Wrexham FC, all the best for the future.