Aaron seeks new home
AARON Phillips faces a summer of uncertainty after leaving boyhood club Coventry City.
Tony Mowbray’s decision not to offer the 22-year-old Leamington lad a new deal ends a 14-year spell with the Sky Blues. But the young right-back is determined to bounce back and prove the manager wrong by moving onwards and hopefully upwards in his career.
“I’m disappointed but that’s life,” he said. “Tony Mowbray has made his decision and it’s just something I have to live with.
“We had a conversation back in January saying I probably wouldn’t be getting a contract but then I did play the last five or six games and I thought I did really well playing against the top teams in our league.
“But the decision was made at the end of the season not to keep me. I felt I had given everything I could in those games, as I have every time I have played.
“This is where I wanted to be but even if I wasn’t going to be here I had to impress any teams that maybe watching the games.”
He added: “Coventry City will always have a place in my heart because I have been at the club from such a young age.
“It’s very tough to leave but in a strange way I think it could do me good getting away. It will help me grow up a little bit and get more independence rather than living at home and stuff.
“It will be a new challenge and something that I am now looking forward to showing that I am a good player and to prove people wrong.”
It’s a difficult end to an enjoyable journey for the son of Wembley ’87 hero David Phillips.
“I have been at Coventry since I was seven or eight, right from the start really, so a long time,” he said.
“I have worked with some amazing coaches over the years, people like Kirk Stephens, Terry Angus, Rich Stevens, Gregor Rioch who were all very supportive of me and I really appreciate what they did for me. They looked after me really well.
“I made my debut against Crawley in 2013, went on for the last ten minutes at centreback, and it was the best feeling because all the years I watched the team I had always dreamed of one day being on that pitch and playing for Coventry.
“I wouldn’t change that day for the world. I know the result wasn’t right – we lost 3-2 – but it’s very special to me.”
The highlight, however, of his 61 appearances was the day he scored his only league goal for the club, a late equaliser at Molineux.
“One of the best moments I have ever had was against Wolves, coming off the bench in front of all those fans,” he said. Whoever expected me to go and score? I did!
“I have never been shy in getting forward and taking a shot, so that was a very special moment in my life.
“I scored a couple in the JPT against Exeter and that was one of those days where everything went for me.”
As for the supporters, most of whom generally get behind Academy graduates, especially if they are local lads, he said: “I have got to be honest, a lot of the fans have been very supportive of me since I broke into the first team and I appreciate that because they have always been excellent towards me.
“I know I got a bit of stick a couple of times this year when I made mistakes but that’s football.”
So what next for the allaction full-back who has been linked with interest from Sheffield United?
“There’s a bit of interest from clubs but nothing concrete yet,” he said.
“Hopefully I can sort something out sooner rather than later because I don’t want it to drag into July when the preseason has started.”
Aaron Phillips can look back on some happy times with the Sky Blues, most notably his dramatic goal at Molineux.