Thailand-based Kyle Nix was born in Australia while his father Peter, a left winger, was playing football in Sydney for Penrith City. The Nix family would head back to the UK when Kyle was around three years old leaving him with some vague memories of the country of his birth. Kyle followed in his father’s footsteps and became a footballer getting his start at one the biggest clubs in the world, Manchester United. OS Aussies had the opportunity to catch up with the 27 year old and learn more about his remarkable story.
Your youth career started at Manchester United which must’ve been a great experience. Given the recent retirements of Beckham and Sir Alex, do you have any stories?
Yes I spent three years coming through the Manchester United Academy which was a great grounding for me. One story was I got the same beep score test as Beckham at 16 in the Academy. I was always the fittest when it came to running and as we know Beckham is renowned even now for his stamina. He was my role model as a kid so I always looked up to him.
Sir Alex came up to me after I’d played for England against Scotland on TV. It was one week later when he and Brian McClair who was then reserve team manager basically told me I was doing really well and to keep doing what I was doing. That was a surreal moment.
At what point did Australia get in touch with you?
I’m not too sure if the Australian FA became fully aware of my actual place of birth until after a game I played for England U20s in Russia. There were talks of me getting invited to an Australian U21s camp but there was confusion as whether I could play for Australia at below senior level because of my involvement playing for England u16s-u20s where I received 23 caps in total.
From United you joined Aston Villa. What prompted the move?
At 16 I got offered three years to stay at Manchester United but at this time they had just won the treble including the Champions League final and had probably the best squad in the world. So, I was thinking more for when I turned 18-19 what the best chance of 1st team football would be. That was why I decided on signing for Aston Villa where we reached the Youth Cup final and I played central midfield in a team which included Gary Cahill and Luke Moore.
You then left Villa. Tell us about the path your career followed then?
After new manager David O’leary came in and changed the whole structure at Aston Villa I signed for Sheffield United on a 3 month loan deal. Neil Warnock was manager and Stuart McCall assistant. I impressed and signed a contract for the next season. I made my debut in the 1st season which saw Sheffield United promoted to the Premiership. Unfortunately for me, getting to the Premiership meant Mr. Warnock wanted proven and experienced players.
Luckily for me, the next season Stuart McCall took charge at Bradford City which was a big ex-Premier League club with a great fan base. He invited me there and I didn’t look back, scoring on my full debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Carling Cup. After this I went on to finish the 2nd top goalscorer that season with 9 goals from midfield.
I stayed at Bradford for two years and had a good relationship with McCall and have him to thank for giving me my break.
After a big wage cutback from not gaining promotion that season I left and signed for Mansfield Town another big club where I was lucky enough that my last game was in front of 40 thousand at the new Wembley in the FA Trophy.
You now find yourself in Thailand with Chiang rai United FC. How did that move come about?
I actually came to Australia 1st and arrived in Brisbane. A friend of the family knows Mike Mulvey and recommended me to Mike after seeing me play regularly in England. Knowing I have an Oz passport which some people probably didn’t, Mike was honest with me and said he wanted 2 weeks access to me. But I already had two firm offers on the table in Thailand so I made the decision to come out to Thailand and here I am at Chiang rai United FC.
I felt after being in England for 10 years I wanted to experience something different and being a technical player I have fitted in well to the style of football out here. I am 2nd top goalscorer in our team from midfield and playing under a Brazilian coach who appreciates touch and possession so I’m really enjoying it.
What’s the long-term plan?
My long term plan is as it always has been which is to work hard get my head down and not let anything distract my football. Everything positive will come with it as it shows. I’ve played at Wembley played for my club and country; and learned my trade at Aston Villa and Manchester United.
Being 27, I have a lot more to give. Obviously players want to get that move to Japan or China which would be nice in the future but I would love to eventually play in the country I was born in. Doing well out here hopefully interest will come with that.
Also who knows actually playing for Australia would be another dream come true. At the moment I’m working hard playing well and enjoying my life and football.