West just fine for Jack
Wed 18th April 2018 | West Didsbury & Chorlton | By Ian Templeman
West Didsbury & Chorlton midfielder Jack Sergeant insists that combining college studies with playing football for West, and at international level for Gibraltar, is working out well for him.
Gibraltar-born Jack joined West at the end of October after returning to Manchester to resume his college course, and playing regular football at Brookburn Road led to him being recalled to his national team squad at the end of March.
He then became the first West player to achieve international recognition when he played the full 90 minutes in Gibraltar's historic 1-0 win over Latvia in a friendly, which was his 12th full international appearance.
It's not often that a player will have to make the adjustment from being a student playing in our league to joining an international squad, but Jack is taking it all in his stride.
"I'm in my second year of studying Fire and Rescue Management at college in Blackburn. I live in Manchester and commute each day", he explained.
"There's only a few universities in England that run fire-related courses, and my goal in the future is to get a job in that field.
"Before I came back over to start my college course, I did a pre-season in Gibraltar. I live in the South Manchester area, and when I came back was looking at the teams around.
"I saw a few on the internet, messaged a few, and West Didsbury told me to come down and train a few times to see if they liked me and I liked them and it just started from there.
"I signed up in and have been here ever since".
Jack's appearance in West's 2-1 win at Northwich Victoria on Saturday was his 19th of the season, so with that number of games under his belt now, how does he assess the difference between the Hallmark Security League Premier Division, and his international experiences?
"There's obviously a big difference but the pitches are the biggest thing. There are some good players that play at this level, but the pitches affect the game a lot, although I actually enjoy playing on the softer pitches.
"The style of football is a lot different as well, it's a bit more direct. But I think the standard here is good, there are some good players, it's just the pitches that affect the games.
"If you put a few of the teams here into the Gibraltar League, playing on the 4G (at the Victoria Stadium, Gibraltar's national stadium) I think some would do well.
"The top three teams in Gibraltar are superior to the teams here, but I think there are teams in this league who would do well in mid-table (in Gibraltar)".
Since joining West, Jack has also enjoyed being deployed in his favoured position and seeing plenty of the ball, which as he explained, doesn't always happen when playing at international level.
"My favourite position is defensive midfield, and I am playing in my normal position for West.
"I normally play in centre midfield for Gibraltar, but in the last game against Latvia I played right back, and a few people (in Gibraltar) were surprised.
"I am a defensive player so I can play along the back or just in front, but for the last game the manager asked me to play there because of what he thought I could do there for the team.
"Playing for Gibraltar though , when we are playing against other nations we are always up against it, as we are one of the smallest teams because we only have a 30,000 population. We don't normally have a lot of the ball, so we are up against it a lot".
Mention of the Latvia game brings back great memories for Jack, as it was the first time he had played in a winning Gibraltar side, and despite having previously played against the likes of Germany, Poland and the Republic of Ireland in Euro 2016 qualifiers, he says the Latvia game was a very special day.
"It was massive. It's our second win now (at international level) and the first since we got into FIFA, and was what we had been building up to.
"We had a positive mindset, saying we can give them a game playing at home in front of our fans. We stuck in the whole game, got a free kick right at the end and luckily it went in.
"We've got the Nations League coming up in September, and we have Liechtenstein - who we have drawn with before - and Armenia, so hopefully we can get some good results against them too".
Looking ahead, Jack is open minded about where his future lies, and for now is focussed on finishing his studies. Football-wise though, he has no plans to leave West and is looking forward to a busy end to the season.
"I think here we probably play more than we train, but I like playing games and I just take each one as it comes. I don't mind, it helps me stay fit, and as long as I don't get any injuries it's fine.
"I have got one more year at college left after this season, and I'll see what happens after that when I finish.
"You never know, I might stay here, or I might go back, but I have enjoyed living here these last few years.
"I am happy here at West, and they treat me well. There's been some good competitive games and I have enjoyed it here".
Jack is pictured below in the red shirt of Gibraltar playing against Latvia on 25th March.
Photo courtesy of the Gibraltar FA.