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Chris BirchallNew arrival Chris Birchall joined up with his new team mates for the first time yesterday, so we took the opportunity to grab a few words with him to get his thoughts on his move up to Cumbria.

He said: "I've known that there has been some interest in me from Carlisle United for a couple of weeks now, and I also heard that some other clubs were interested as well. As soon as I knew that the Carlisle thing was the most likely one to come off, I said right away that I wanted it to happen. I spoke to the gaffer on the phone, and I know a few ex-players from Port Vale - Jeff Smith and Marc Bridge-Wilkinson - so I was happy to come up, get some games in and try and help the team."

"I believe that the gaffer spoke to Keiren Westwood to get a report on me," he added, "because he wanted to find out what I was like as a lad in general. Keiren's a top lad, he's come down to Coventry and he has done really well. He was shy at first but he opened up after a couple of weeks and the lads have really taken to him. I think he's kept Coventry in a lot of games this season. He's been brilliant and I'm not surprised that he's getting scouted by Premiership teams. I think he's destined to play as a keeper at that level."

He told us: "I came up through the Youth ranks at Port Vale ... in fact I started there when I was 9 years old. I came up through the Youth team and the Reserves, and then made it in to the first team. With the exposure that I got in the World Cup, I then moved to Coventry. The first year or so was brilliant at Coventry, but then the manager got sacked and a new man came in, and things changed for me. They want their own players, which is understandable, and you have got to take it and accept it. The new gaffer said that I needed games and that it would be best if I left the club. I've got no problems with that."

"It was Iain Dowie who told me that initially," he explained. "All I wanted was to play football, so I went up to Scotland for a stint, and that was really enjoyable and I gained a lot of experience from it. To be honest, the World Cup experience seems a while ago now, but it's only a couple of years ago, and it was absolutely fantastic. It was one of those things that, at the time, it was just a big blur. I was just trying to get on with it and play well. It's not until afterwards and you look back that you realise what a big event it was. It was magical to get there - and we've now got ourselves to the stage where we could possibly get ourselves there again. Hopefully, if it comes off, it could be another World Cup for me."

"I'm often asked how it is that I am eligible to play for Trinidad & Tobago," he admitted. "Basically, my grandparents emigrated there for work purposes and they lived there for a number of years. My mum was actually born out there, and she grew up in that part of the world until she was about 15 or 16. She then met my dad, who is from Liverpool, and they hit it off. Eventually I came along and that's how I am eligible to play for them. I go back there a few times a year, even if it's not for football, because I've a lot of friends out there. It's the friendliest country I've ever known. I'm the only white player on the team, and there are a host of different cultures involved, but there's no racism at all. I love the country to bits and would go back there even if I have a week off, just to fill the time."

"Obviously I now have the Cumbrian climate to deal with," he said, "and it is a bit different to say the least! Over there it is very humid, and even if it's cloudy it's 30 odd degrees. Having said that, I am really looking forward to doing my bit with Carlisle. I think this is a great opportunity, and I want to do everything I can to help the team get the results. From what I have seen already it is a great club, and I know I've made a good choice in coming here."