Anderson Pinto: ‘The squad has more than enough to reach the play-offs’

Anderson Pinto recently returned to Billericay Town following a spell in Wales with Connah’s Quay Nomads. The Portuguese winger was with the Blues last season in the Vanarama National League South but he left for Wales in the summer. Pinto has now returned to New Lodge and he is looking forward to be back in blue. I asked the new addition about why he decided to return to New Lodge, his hopes for 2023 and more.

Anderson Pinto in action (Credit: Nicky Hayes)

You recently returned to New Lodge after a spell with Welsh side Connah’s Quay Nomads. What made you want to return to the Blues?

‘The gaffer (Dan Brown) and the players that stayed on from last season. I spoke to the gaffer last season and I told him exactly my plans for the following 2022/23 season. If it worked out for me, happy days but if it didn’t, I was always going to consider coming back as long as he was manager due to having a good relationship with him regardless of the level.’

In your previous spell at the club, you had Dan Brown as an interim manager. Was he one of the reasons why you wanted to return?

‘Yes! I trust him, he’s honest with his players. I have a good honest relationship with him, he never messes me about regardless of the situation, he tells me as it is, he makes you work your socks off in training, he trains us as if we were a full-time club and everything he does is professional – it’s the little details for me. We may as well be full-time.’

‘The gaffer gives us all the tools to go out and deliver on and off the pitch. A massive influence on my decision to return as ideally, I wanted to stay around the Vanarama National League level.’

You have joined the squad halfway through the season with the Blues currently sitting in 10th place. As a newcomer, how would you assess the squad that you are coming into to?

‘It’s a really good squad, he’s kept a good core of players from last season and added some other good players as well. It’s a tight group, that has more than enough to win the league or reach the play-offs and get promoted. The atmosphere in the changing room is healthy and I see good things happening this season.’

You left Billericay in the summer to play in the top division of Welsh football. What was your experience like there and how does it differ from playing in England?

‘I was grateful for the opportunity but, unfortunately, it didn’t work out as I planned and these things happen. It was beyond my control and I didn’t get an opportunity or any consistent game time which is a shame. I just couldn’t do any more than I was which lead to me asking to terminate my contract, as the most important thing for me was to play football regularly.’

‘Football in Wales isn’t pretty, it’s more physical. In my third game, I ended up in the hospital with internal bruising to the ribs – I think that sums up the league. The two top teams pass the ball around but overall, England, in my opinion, is a lot better to be a part of. It was different, everything about it felt different. Nevertheless, it was an experience, it’s behind me and now I’m looking forward to a positive start to 2023!’

Is promotion back to the Vanarama National League South still the goal? Also, what do you personally hope to achieve in 2023?

‘1000% – that’s the only goal. Last season was unfortunate. Nothing has changed for me on a personal note, I want to achieve promotion and be around a consistently winning team and playing with a smile on their faces.’

‘Also, I still have my eye on playing football full-time in Europe or Asia, preferably Asia, as I would love to live out there for a couple of years and experience something new, as I’ve never kept that a secret. So that is my goal this year.’

A massive thank you to Anderson Pinto (@_arp10_ on Instagram) for making the time for this interview.

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