Rumoured Hartlepool United transfer target Robbie Tinkler is hoping to make up for lost time as he assesses his next move.
The England C wing-back left crisis club Gateshead last week and a number of Football League and National League clubs are believed to have shown an interest in acquiring his services.
The 22-year-old is at a pivotal time in his career as he looks to secure his next move and he admitted that he is keen to move into the Football League in the near future.
He told The Mail “I have made a slow start to my professional career and this could be a move to kick things on.
“I would like to be in the Football League at some point.
“You see former team-mates doing well in the league on television and I think I can do that too.
“I have been around a first-team environment at Middlesbrough, I have played professionally with Gateshead and I have raised my game in big games over that time.
“You have to raise your game when you get those chances and that happened last season against the likes of Luton Town in the FA Cup and in big league games like Wrexham.
“I would like the chance to do that week-in, week-out.”
Tinkler did not go as far as ruling out staying in the National League after impressing over the last season at Gateshead.
However, he did stress that he would take a number of factors into consideration – including whether any interested club would have ambitions of challenging for promotion in the immediate future.
“It’s a case of weighing everything up,” explained Tinkler.
“You have to consider things like travel, money and whether the club has the right ambition.
“I signed a two-year deal at Gateshead, and I enjoyed my time there, but I am no longer a young player and at my age you can say that half of your career is gone already.
“You have to start making steps, and I have taken advice from people.
“They have said that you have to play as high as you can for as long as you can.
“I don’t want to end my career with any regrets and that is why my next move is such a big decision.”
Tinkler reflected on his time at Gateshead and admitted that he feels sorry for the club’s supporters.
Off-field speculation surrounding the club’s future provided an uncertain backdrop to the last few months at the Tyneside club.
At present, they have just one contracted player and owner Dr Ranjan Varghese has undertaken a cost-cutting exercise that has led to the departure of a number of key figures including manager Ben Clark and general manager Alisha Henry.
Tinkler said “I spoke to JJ O’Donnell and Clarky and they are the ones I feel for the most because they bleed the club.
“I have been there for a year and a half and I had a good rapport with the supporters and other people at the club.
“It is sad to see what has happened to them because a lot of hard work has gone in over the last season.
“You have to feel for the supporters too.
“The people involved at Gateshead Soul, it’s their life, they live for the club, and it is sad to see what they are going through.
“I will always be grateful for the opportunity they gave me.
“They gave me a good footing for my career and it is such a shame that the club couldn’t go further under the management and players involved there."