Kirkland relief at Anfield exit
By Chris Stanton
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Chris Kirkland believes he had no choice but to leave Liverpool.
Chris Kirkland believes he had no choice but to leave Liverpool and sign a permanent contract with Wigan Athletic.
The former Coventry goalkeeper joined The Latics on a permanent basis last week, and, after helping his side to their second successive clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Fulham on Saturday, has reflected on his falling out of favour at Anfield.
Following an injury-plagued spell with The Reds, the 25-year-old was deemed surplus to requirements by Rafa Benitez.
A loan spell at West Bromwich Albion last season handed Kirkland more regular first team football, but it was a meeting with Latics boss Paul Jewell this summer that really kickstarted his career.
"I had to get out [of Liverpool]. The writing was on the wall when Mr Benitez came. I struggled with training and bits and bobs like that. That's just football," said Kirkland.
"He put me in the team when I was carrying a back injury that needed an operation and I was out for six months.
"After that he bought a new keeper and that was that. There have been tough times but I'm happy now and I love playing for Wigan. I wanted to stay up north and Paul Jewell was great and at Wigan I liked what I saw.
"It was always the intention to sign by Christmas if I stayed fit, but they came to me during the week and with my agent we all decided it was best to get it out of the way.
"It's a weight off my shoulders now. I am a Wigan player and nothing can change that."
Kirkland also harbours aspirations of adding to his one England cap but may be forced to sit out The Three Lions' international friendly with Holland later this month.
"Yeah, I do have aspirations. My missus is due on the day of the Holland game in three weeks so we will have to wait and see," added Kirkland.
"I will not miss the birth of my first child, so we will have to wait and see, but the main thing is to get a run of games."