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‘Getting Personal’ with Adam Henley

8 December 2014

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Adam Henley is the next player in the hot-seat for our new feature where we get to know the person behind the player...

What’s your earliest memory?

I was four years old when I moved up to Chorley, where I live now, from down south. That’s probably my earliest memory. I was in Guildford for a year I think and then moved up here to where I’ve grown up.

What sort of child were you?

I think I was quite a steady child. I was into loads of sports, so that took a lot of my attention, football especially, but just anything I could do outside really. I was quite an active kid.

What are you best at outside of football?

That’s a tough one. I wouldn’t say there’s anything in particular to be honest. As a kid, I tried my hand at everything really, but apart from football, nothing really took off. Football took up most of my time as a young kid and it hasn’t really left me much time to get into anything else, but hopefully in the future maybe.

What would you like to be better at?

I’d probably say swimming. I want to be a better swimmer. I can swim, but being able to swim well, that’s what I’d like to be better at.

Tell us a secret about yourself?

I fancy myself as a good cook. I think I’ve got a bit in the kitchen, compared to a lot of people my age anyway! My mum has always been an unbelievable cook and she’s taught me everything she knows really.

What is your most treasured possession?

Probably my shirt from the win over Man United (at Old Trafford in December 2011). I got it framed and hung up in my house. That’s probably my most valued possession from my football career.

Who is the biggest star name in your phone book?

Probably Chris Coleman. He rang me at the end of my debut season, completely out of the blue, and called me up to the end-of-season trip to New York. Obviously with me being so young at the time it was crazy really to be called up to Wales’ first team squad.

What has been your most embarrassing moment?

I would say my initiation here. I was only 17 and was on the pre-season trip to Hong Kong. We’d gone out for something to eat with the owners and I had to do mine then, which is probably the worst place anyone could have done it. I did some rap song, I can’t really remember which I was so nervous!

Who do you most admire?

When I was a kid, I massively looked up to Ronaldinho. At the time, he was one of the best in the world and his videos were all over the internet. As a young kid, I was always in my back garden trying to practice everything he was doing. He was quite an inspiration for me growing up I’d say.

Your house, your football boots and your car – which do you clean first?

My house first definitely, although I should probably do it a bit more often!  Then my car. I probably leave my boots until last, for no particular reason.

Could you survive in the wild on your own?

Yes, without a doubt. I’m very resourceful and I’ve watched plenty of the Discovery Channel!

What kind of people do you dislike?

Big-headed people and arrogant people. It’s never something I’ve enjoyed, coming through the ranks. Especially in football, you get plenty of big egos and at the end of the day you’ve got to deal with it. As a young player, it’s always the hardest thing to deal with, coming into a team.

What makes you angry?

Underachieving. Not doing what I’m capable of doing, if I know I can do better. That’s one thing that makes me angry in myself. I’m my own worst critic.

How many close friends do you have?

I’ve got quite a tight-knit group of friends. I try to keep the ones I’ve grown up with around me. I’ve got a small group of friends from school that I still keep in touch with, even though they’re in uni. I get to see them most weekends. I’ve also got a small group of lads that I’ve known coming up through the Academy that I still talk too. So I’ve got quite a close circle of friends really.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?

It would have to be the Andy Tate Vines. He’s the Man United fan and it’s blown up on Twitter. All my friends have been talking about it and it’s provided a lot of entertainment for everyone!

What is the best/worst decision you have ever made?

I think one of the best decisions I’ve made was to move out with my brother and to get our own place. For us, it was a big step, moving away from home, even if it was only down the road, to be independent and learn to live on our own. I would have been 18, turning 19 in the summer, so I was young and my brother is only two years older than me, but it’s turned out to be a great decision, because we’re really settled and we’re enjoying it. In terms of a worst decision, I wouldn’t say that I’ve got any regrets to be totally honest. I don’t think there’s anything I could say that I truly wish I didn’t do.

What has been your most bizarre life experience?

Tough one. A couple of years ago, me and my brother went to Dubai and we went to the Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world – and we got the elevator to the top and I remember us being up there and it was surreal really for us. It was unbelievable just to think that you were at the highest man-made building. After that, just Dubai as a whole. For us, it was something we weren’t used to and we never thought we’d get that chance to do that my ourselves. It was amazing, but bizarre at the same time.

What are three things that you would like to do before you die?

I want to sky-dive. That’s something I definitely want to do. I’m quite into extreme stuff, so I’d love to do that. Travel around the world a bit. I’ve been lucky enough as a young lad to travel to many places, which some people would never dream of going in their life, but there’s still loads of places I’d like to see. I’m slowly ticking them off year by year. I like to go somewhere different every year. Finally, drive an F1 car or any supercar around a track. That’s always something I’ve wanted to do.

What team(s) do you support outside of football?

As a kid, I was a massive Liverpool fan. Growing up, they were my team. As I’ve got more and more into football, the allegiance has kind of faded away, but as a kid everything I had was Liverpool! Outside of football, I wouldn’t really say there’s anyone I follow in particular. I’ve got friends through football who play for other teams and I always check up on their results to see how they’re doing. Apart from that, I like to watch a bit of basketball and American football, but just for enjoyment in general.

Are you an animal person? Do you have any pets?

Yes, I’ve got a French Bulldog called Hugo. He’s only coming up to eight months old now, just a little pup, but he’s a little terror!

What last kept you awake at night?

I never really have that problem to be totally honest. I sleep pretty well. If I’ve got something playing on my mind, I try my best to get over it as quickly as possible and not let it affect me.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

I wouldn’t say I’ve made it yet, but the toughest decision for me is going to be internationally. Obviously being able to qualify for Wales, America and England, and being pulled each way, it’s going to be a very hard decision. It’s been bouncing around for at least two years now and when I finally get round to it, it’s going to be a very hard decision.

What film, no matter how many times you’ve seen it, do you have to watch when it’s on?
I’d say Superbad. It’s a really funny film. Comedies are the only ones really that I can watch over and over again. Superbad in particular has always been a great film.
Tell me about the last time a team-mate got angry with you. What happened?
I don’t know really. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t really get into much confrontation to be honest. I keep my head down and just get on with things. Sometimes maybe it needs it, but it’s never really been in my personality. I try to see eye-to-eye with most of the lads here, because I feel it’s important that everyone gets on.
What business would you love to start?
A clothing brand. It’s always something that’s interested me growing up and it’s definitely something I’d be interested in getting into if the opportunity ever arises.
Did you have any other jobs when you were younger?
I had a paper round when I was 12. I took it off my brother as soon as I could. It was the first opportunity I could get to make some money for myself. I think it was £12 a week I got, which at the time was unbelievable for me. Just to be making my own money was  a good feeling. I did it straight after school. I would come in, grab my bag and go for a trek around the neighbourhood!
Could you find your way around a foreign country using just a map?
Yes, without a doubt. I’m pretty handy and pretty independent when it comes to directing myself round. I’ve been to plenty of cities where all I’ve needed is a map or the map on my phone to help me get around and get to places.
What are you most proud of? 
Making my Premier League debut (against Wigan Athletic) as young as I did. No-one expected me to come in at that age and do as well as I did. To this day, it’s good for me to be able to look back at that and see the achievements I made that year. And whenever I look back at that, it gives me a confidence boost for the future.
What is your idea of fun? If given a chance to skip training for a day, how would you spend your day off?
Anything really. I’m pretty spontaneous. I’m not someone to have things laid out for me. If something arises, I’ll just go and do it. I’m someone who will just drop everything and jump on a train or drive down somewhere just to do something. There’s usually something different every week with me.
What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?
Probably snails. I ate snails once when I went to France when I was younger. I think if I went back now, I don’t think I’d touch them. I think it was just me being intrigued as a youngster. I tried them and I remember them being bizarre.
If you could eliminate one thing from your daily schedule, what would it be and why?
Travelling to training. If I could just time travel here or something that would be good. It only takes me about 25 minutes, but the convenience of it would be appreciated.
What's the one thing you can't live without?
The internet. It’s the one thing, especially these days, I struggle with. I can deal without my phone, but without internet you just lose contact with everything really. That is probably the most important thing for me, especially on away trips and things like that, it’s vital. That’s how I see it anyway.

Would you rather...
... skip Christmas for a year or skip your birthday for a year?
Skip my birthday.
… live without your computer/laptop or your television for the rest of your life?
Without TV.
… be able to fly whenever you want or be invisible?
Fly whenever I want.
… have a beautiful house and ugly car or ugly house and beautiful car?
Beautiful house and ugly car.
... visit the world 1,000 years into the past or 1,000 years into the future?
... be rich and ugly or poor and good looking?
Rich and ugly.
… go sky-diving or deep-sea diving?
Sky-diving definitely.
… have a chef or a cleaner?
A cleaner.

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