Evo: ‘It’s time for me to realise I can’t play so many games’

Chesterfield vs Bradford - Ian Evatt heads towards goal - Pic By James Williamson
Chesterfield vs Bradford - Ian Evatt heads towards goal - Pic By James Williamson

Ian Evatt says the time has come for him to realise he won’t play every single game for Chesterfield, even if he doesn’t like it.

The veteran, with almost 200 Football League appearances under his belt for the Spireites, admits his body can’t cope with the relentless demands of a 40-plus game season.

But at the age of 34 andwith experience of the Premier League and Championship, he’s adamant there’s still a big role for him to play.

It isn’t the easiest of transitions for a footballer, however.

“It’s been hard for me to take really,” he said.

“I’m going on 35 next month and I’ve never not played every game, wherever I’d been I’ve always played, always started.

“It’s time for me to adjust my mindset and realise I can’t play so many games.

“When the manager wants to leave me out for a few weeks I’ll have to cope with that.

“It’s not easy to retrain your mindset but it’s something I’ve got to do.

“My body just won’t cope with playing 50 games a season anymore.”

Ten of Evatt’s team-mates were toddlers when he signed his first professional contract at Derby and Ricky German wasn’t even born.

The former Blackpool, QPR and Derby centre-half sees himself as one of few players at Chesterfield who can pass advice to the many youngsters in Danny Wilson’s squad.

“It just comes with experience,” said the defender, one of only three Town players with double figures of Premier League appearances.

“We’ve got a lot of young lads in our squad, probably too many if we’re being brutally honest.

“Some have had to be blooded before they are ready.

“It’s important we’re there for them as senior figures, to give them the knowledge we’ve got. We’re there to help.

“There aren’t many senior players who have been there and done it, so the ones who have need to speak to the lads and keep their feet firmly on the ground.”

Keeping youngsters grounded in 2016 is very different prospect to when Evatt joined the profession in 1997.

Many of the changes in the game aren’t to his taste.

He said: “The youth of today are so much more confident than when I was a kid.

“When I was training with the first team at 15, 16, I wouldn’t have said boo to a goose, now they’re happy to give you a bit back and do things I wouldn’t have done.

“You can’t really give a clip round the ear or a verbal volley anymore.

“There’s no more boot cleaning or cleaning the changing rooms, which gives you a good grounding at the start of a professional career.

“The money has gone up and up and up, which has breed some big egos.

“It’s just important that we keep our lads grounded.

“Thankfully have a lot of good lads who work very hard Monday to Friday, there’s not many big egos around.”