"I met Edwin van der Sar a couple of weeks ago and now I realize why I didn't make it,quot;
By Cameron Hogwood – @CameronHogwood
Last update: 12/19/19 3:13 pm
Darts is rooted with fascinating backgrounds of players and Nathan Aspinall is no different in that regard, having seen his sports adventures begin on the football field.
There is no ironic laugh or modest smile when Aspinall is asked about his goalkeeper roots. This was a serious search and one of which a natural competitive advantage has driven a flourishing career in the eighty.
Turning the reach towards the late introduction of Aspinall often stops at his decision to exchange arrow accounts, but what many might not know is the story of the Stockport-born shooter.
A story that may have been short-lived, but that he believes has contributed to his last line of work.
He said Sky Sports: "I was scouted to play at the Manchester United Goalkeeper Academy, it was a feeder club for Manchester United and other clubs.
"They offered me contracts for the Rangers when I was nine years old, I played for Stockport County and had tests with them.
"Soccer was the way I wanted to go. All children want to be soccer players."
"It didn't work for me, but I played on a semi-professional level and now I am a professional dart player."
"If I was a little taller I could have done it. I was released because I was too small as a goalkeeper. I wasn't tall enough."
"I met Edwin van der Sar a couple of weeks ago and now I realize why I didn't make it, because it's about 19 feet.
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"Obviously, I knew he was a good archer and I thought he was one of the best at that time, but it wasn't."
"Things happen for a reason and probably worked the best way in the long term."
Despite a change in sports environments, Aspinall is still based on the extra boost and adrenaline that is cultivated in a team sport like football.
In doing so, he has naturally understood the competitiveness on the stage shown by the winner of the Grand Slam of Darts, Gerwyn Price, who comes from a professional rugby fund.
"I love sports, any guy," added Aspinall.
"Pool, snooker, I'm a great golfer, obviously also football. I hate losing, I'm so competitive."
"I think, like Gezzy, if you have played at a high level in a different sport when you enter the darts, you already have that little extra will to win than other people."
"Everything I play, even with the snooker in which I am terrible, I will try everything to win."
"I like to say that I am a born winner because I don't want to be a loser."
"Nobody remembers the losers, everyone remembers the winners, so that's what I want to be."
Aspinall about his winning mentality ahead of the worlds
Aspinall has become one of the last beacons of inspiration for those seeking a step towards professional status, as it was just over two years ago.
The semifinalist of the 2019 World Championship has identified self-confidence and hard work as key components in turning risks into rewards.
He said: "Rob (Cross) has shown it, I have tried it. Okay, I didn't win it (the World Championship), but I had a good career and that prepared me financially."
"I think it's a big part of that, if you're trying to play with these guys while you work it's also very, very difficult. You're finishing on a Sunday night and then you're ready to work on a Monday, while as a professional you have a couple of rest days to see your family and children, etc.
"I think you should believe in yourself and trust your own ability and believe that you are the best player in that tournament."
"If you don't think you are the best player in the tournament, you are immediately disadvantaged."
"You have to prove it to people and also prove it to yourself. Certainly, practice and trust are the keys to success.
"Before the World Championship I won my first senior title on the court, I think it was in Barnsley. I tried it on and since then I continue to advance in these tournaments. That was the turning point where I realized that it was good enough to compete at the highest level. "
Aspinall begins his tournament against Danny Baggish tonight.
See the daily news from Darts at skysports.com/darts, our mobile app and our Twitter account @skysportsdarts – the action is back in your Sky sports projections in December with the Alexandra Palace World Championship.