Exclusive Liam Grimshaw column

Recent signing Liam Grimshaw

Recent signing Liam Grimshaw

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The banter has certainly been flying since I signed on the dotted line for Preston.

It’s no secret that I’m a Burnley lad, who supported the Clarets as a kid and my mates have been giving me plenty of stick since I made the move to Deepdale last month.

But as they say back in East Lancashire: ‘It’s reight in it!’

My loyalties and professionalism are now totally with North End and I am so excited to have signed for the club.

Being from these parts, I know exactly how big a club Preston is.

There have been some great players to have worn the white shirt – like Sir Tom Finney – over the years, and it’s a club steeped in history and tradition.

It’s a massive opportunity for me, which is something most of my mates back in Burnley totally understand.

As a child, I have been to Deepdale many times, watching the big derby games between Preston and Burnley.

When I was growing up the two clubs were the biggest of rivals and used to play every season, with both vying – a lot of the time – for a place in the Championships play-offs.

I must admit I do have one eye on the next meeting between the two sides, which takes place near the end of the season at Deepdale.

It would be great to play in the derby – I know how spicy they are and I definitely want a bit of that.

Hopefully, I will be fully fit by then and fighting for a 
first-team shirt. The fact that I’m still waiting to make my North End debut after severing my ties with Manchester United for good has been a great source of frustration for me.

The medical I undertook before signing for PNE showed up a minor problem in my knee.

I have a condition called pigmented villonodular synovitis, which is a joint disease characterised by inflammation and overgrowth of the joint lining.

It usually affects the hip or knee – in my case it’s my right knee. I have had a few problems with it in the past but it did not affect me at all during the first half of the season, which I spent on loan at Motherwell in the SPL.

It just showed up in the medical and the club felt it was the right decision to have an operation to clear the problem up and hopefully that will keep it under control.

Obviously, it was frustrating to sign for a new club and then immediately have an operation.

But if it needed doing, it needed doing.

I am just thankful to the club for keeping faith with me and not pulling out of the move. They were brilliant with me.

The deal dragged on a bit, but I am really glad it all got sorted because until all the paperwork gets signed off, you’re never fully sure it will go through.

I have been in a knee brace for the last couple of weeks just to keep everything stable but I am now firmly on the road to recovery.

Hopefully, soon I can get cracking with the rest of the lads on the grass and show the fans what I can do.

You can never tell how long the injury will take to heal but the medics said I should be about six weeks out, so hopefully I will be able play some part before the season is out. When I do get on the pitch, the Preston fans can expect a player who never gives anything less than 100%.

I can get up and down the pitch. I enjoy a tackle, but I like to think I can play a bit as well.

My favourite position is midfield, but I can play at full-back and centre-half – even though I’m not the tallest.

I’m 21 now and so I’m really looking forward to kicking on with my career and getting lots of games under my belt.

I have had a great footballing education after being picked up by United as a young lad.

It was an absolute dream to grow up at the club and I have experienced things I never would have done anywhere else. I have played all over the world – and been trained by one of England’s greatest ever players Paul Scholes.

Scholesy and Nicky Butt coached the youth team for a bit and it was just amazing to train alongside those two.

Paul Scholes had retired by then but he was still the best player on the training pitch.

I also have a lot to thank United’s youth team coaches Paul McGuinness and Warren Joyce.

I had a great time on loan at Motherwell too and would have stayed there, but as soon as Preston came in I could not refuse.