sport

Oldham's Smith enjoys journey

Oldham striker Matt Smith has reflected on his journey from a student "slum" in Manchester to a back-page headline-maker.

Latics hero Smith tried to put Sunday's two-goal match-winning performance to knock Liverpool out of the FA Cup into perspective on Monday.

Just over 18 months ago, the 23-year-old was playing non-league football for Solihull Moors after spells at Redditch and Droylsden once he had completed his education.

Having originally been released by Cheltenham aged 18 and choosing to take a degree - International Management with American Studies at the University of Manchester, where he shared kick-abouts with comedian Jack Whitehall - he could appreciate more than most the achievement in knocking out the seven-time winners from the Premier League.

"Without a doubt, this is my career highlight. I won't be forgetting this for a very long time," he said.

"The days of living in student slums in Fallowfield, playing part-time football on 80-a-week is a big difference to finding yourself playing Liverpool in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

"From my position it is easier to appreciate these victories because I am fully aware of reality so I am absolutely over the moon.

"I always wanted to play football every since I was a youngster but I took the academic route and I was not sure it would ever happen.

"But I never gave up hope and even at university I always tried to play at the highest level of non-league football I could.

"Just one good season and I get a move to a League One side and then you push and push.

"It is dedication and hard work and that bit of belief when maybe other people don't believe in you - self-determination and self-belief takes you a long way."