Hull City: New boy James itching to get started

Anyone would find it hard to leave the Theatre of Dreams, not least after six years service at the world's most famous football club.

But it is perhaps massive compliment to Hull City that new signing James Chester opted to put his faith in the East Yorkshire club in the crucial next step of his career.

Former Manchester United star Chester – lavished with high words from assistant boss Craig Shakespeare on these pages last week – was expected to make his debut in yesterday's home clash against Barnsley.

And that fixture against the Tykes would herald a new dawn for the defender, who agreed a three-and-a-half-year deal at the KC Stadium last week.

The 21-year-old could have continued making loan spells away from Old Trafford in the hope of catching Sir Alex Ferguson's eye, but the player knows it was time to move on.

By his own admission, getting anywhere near the first team was a big ask.

So it's just as well that Chester has made an easy transition to his new club this week, as he told Yorkshire Sport about his ambitions with the Tigers.

Those difficult teething stages of settling in have been passed with ease as Chester's affable nature makes clear, although a couple of familiar faces have also helped.

Chester is well acquainted with another of the Red Devils alumni in the form of tricky winger Cameron Stewart and fellow new boy Aaron Mclean.

The pair linked up during loan stints at Peterborough but can now get used to each other's company even more now permanent deals have been arranged.

Said Chester: "It's going well. I know Cameron (Stewart) obviously and

Aaron Mclean from Peterborough so they've helped me fit in, probably

better than if I didn't know anybody.

"If you turn up at a club and don't really know anybody it's hard but I know them two and I've settled into the group quickly.

"The loans were more to get experience while I was at United. I'm never going to be playing constant, first-team football there because it's difficult with the money they've got and the players that are in front of you.

"So to go on loan and get games is what you need at a young age. Now I've found somewhere where I can settle down and hopefully become a better player."

Chester's footballing journey has spanned the length and breadth of the land.

His first assignment came at Peterborough before another stint was arranged at Plymouth.

The 5ft 9ins stopper then found himself at Greg Abbott's Carlisle for the majority of this campaign, where he flourished in League One.

That was his longest run of games at a club to date and he even popped with four handy goals for the Cumbrian side.

But Chester now wants to make an impact in a black and amber shirt with frivolities out of the way – although room-mate Stewart will ensure things off-the-field are in good nick too with the pair rooming

together near the city.

Asked if he was comfortable with a move from west to east, Chester went on: "It's got to be better in the north hasn't it? Hull's closer to home.

"I thought it was further away than it actually was! But I'm happy.

"Me and Cameron have been put in a lovely house and we're sharing the duties, so it's nice.

"I've known him for a while. I've been at United since I was nine and I think Cam came a couple of years after that.

"He's a few years younger than me and you've seen him around the place and we've got a bit closer, been on a few holidays together over the summer. But I know him really well."

On the serious stuff and the importance of realising his potential under manager Nigel Pearson, he added: "You're playing for your livelihood and everyone's playing for their job.

"Every point means something so the competitiveness of first-team football is something you don't get at youth team level."

City's interest in the Warrington-born player came as a surprise to many supporters, who were caught unaware by Pearson's overtures.

Perhaps still reeling from the loss of Daniel Ayala, and the public spat with Liverpool that ensued, it was unclear how the Tigers' chief would plug the centre-half gap.

Chester himself admits the pace of the switch came as a shock to him, meanwhile his new admirers exhaled in unison at the relief of reinforcements.

Left unsteady by the presence of Paul McShane and Kamil Zayatte manning

the central barricades, Shakespeare said Chester would be a fine addition to his squad.

The man himself was comfortable with the deal unravelling as soon as it did, explaining how the club's set-up – and the reputation of Pearson – made any decision easy.

"It all happened quite quickly, really," Chester explained. "I got a phone call off my agent a couple of weeks ago saying 'would you be interested in going to Hull?' My answer was 'yes' straight away, but I wasn't sure if it was a loan move or permanent.

"I got another call a couple of days later saying 'they've made a bid for you', so it was just a case of waiting for United to get back to them and things progressing very quickly.

"I'm 21 now and I knew myself it was time to move on from United and play regularly in someone's first team and hopefully I can do that there.

"I know a few players at United that have played under the manager here and they've had nothing but good words to say about him.

"This club was in the Premier League last season and they've got a great set-up and it's good.

"I like it. Where the training ground and the house is, it's a lovely area so I've settled in really well. The facilities here are top rate,

it's been easy."

All Chester has to do now is live up to the expectations set for him.

The nagging doubt over his height may prove a sticking point for some, but Chester hopes he can overcome even the most cynical of supporters in time.

He concluded: "If people look at me they'll think I'm not the biggest for a centre half but my positioning sense is quite good and I'm not bad at leaping in the air.

"Hopefully my size won't be a problem but I'm not bad on the ball either."

Ashton Golding.  Picture Tony Johnson.

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