The new signing for the I-League champions explained why he chose to join the Indian club...
“My friend John Johnson, who was at Middlesbrough with me, has been out there playing for them, so I’ve been keeping in touch with him and seen how well he has been getting on out there. He asked me earlier this year if it would be something I’d be interested in,” Walker told TheFA.com.
“It was just a quick chat about it, but then towards the end of last season the manager Ashley Westwood rang me to see if I was interested. I thought there and then that it was time to give something else a go, and it really excited me and it is an opportunity to relish," he talked about his reasons to join an Indian club.
The 25-year old also sounded excited about joining the reigning I-League champions and hoped that he would be able to play some part in the team's future success stories.
“I’m joining the champions, and I want to help them win even more things. I want to be a success there. It’s going to be a great challenge and experience, but I’m ready for it and determined to make it a success," he added.
However, he also stressed that he will try to give the game a stronger foothold in a nation that's obsessed with cricket.
“Cricket is obviously the No. 1 sport out there, but football has become more popular and hopefully I can help its growth continue and get even more people watching and playing it,” he mentioned.
“I did have a couple of games in the UEFA Cup earlier in my career, and obviously my experience of playing for England, puts me in good stead. That World Cup in Egypt was boiling, and it is going to be similar conditions in India, so all that experience helps.”
The player who has never been part of a club outside Great Britain conceded that there are challenges on the personal front that will appear, but stressed that he is ready to face them.
“There is going to be difficulties. I have a young daughter who is only two, so it will obviously be hard moving so far away – but that is one of the reasons I am doing it. I want to provide a good life for her."
At a time when young footballers are finding it difficult to stay in the game, Jackson says he believes more should look abroad to continue their careers – although he admits it is a big step to take for one so young.
“I’m telling my family that I’m not moving away to live, I’m going away to work. It’s like people that go away to work off-shore. It’s getting difficult for people all around the country to find work, and that includes footballers. Going abroad will be a big challenge, but it’s something that I want to make a success of and I think more should look to do it," he remarked.
Walker will be coming to India next week and looks forward to the new sojourn in his football career.
“I haven’t been out there yet – but I’ve heard a lot about it and I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a great challenge and experience, but I’m ready for it and determined to make it a success,” he signed off.