New Leeds United signing Matt Smith believes his unconventional route into professional football has helped him sign for the Elland Road club.

Smith played non-league football and attended Manchester University before he joined Oldham.

The striker knows he's managed to make a career for himself a different way to most footballers but that's made him appreciate it even more.

"It's an unorthodox route which is very different to most footballers," the 24-year old told BBC Radio Leeds.

"It gives you a different perspective, I know how privileged I am and that I have to work very hard."

Leeds manager Brian McDermott has a reputation for signing players from the lower echelons of the football league and turning them into a success.

Smith shares an agent with Dave Kitson, a striker who was bought by Reading after McDermott's recommendation when he was at the club, and the Sheffield United striker enjoyed a successful spell at the Madejski Stadium.

Smith believes that his career path is similar to that of Kitson's and hopes to have similar success. 

"The similarities between my story and Dave's story are there, so maybe he sees me as a prospect like Dave was when he came from Cambridge to Reading, and hopefully I can be as successful," said Smith.

Smith also feels that working in a regular job in the past means he will take nothing for granted.

"Having worked outside football, it makes you understand how privileged you are to be doing something you love outdoors, being paid to keep fit.

"I understand most jobs don't finish at 1.00pm and that most people don't get paid thousands of pounds a week."

Smith made headlines last season by scoring twice for Oldham in their shock win against Liverpool in the fourth round of the FA Cup. He followed that up with a goal in the fifth round against Everton to secure a draw and also scored in the replay at Goodison Park.

He's scored 14 goals in 75 games for Oldham since joining them in May 2011 but he has told boss Brian McDermott that he's not just there to make up the numbers.

"I'm very dedicated and hard-working and obviously I want to play.

"But I'm not misguided, I know it's a very strong squad with competition all over the pitch. I have to knuckle down and work extra hard - as I did at Oldham - and try and force myself into the team."

 

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Topics:
Leeds United
Football
Championship
Matt Smith