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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

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By ESPN Staff

Latic keeper Kirkland nearly quit the game

New Wigan goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has revealed he almost quit football due to the injuries which have blighted his career so far.

Kirkland has been plagued with problems over the years, resulting in him making just 45 appearances for Liverpool in four seasons after a £6million move from Coventry in 2001.

The 25-year-old appeared to rediscover his form at the start of a season-long loan spell with West Brom last term, playing in Albion's first 10 Premiership matches.

But Kirkland first suffered a kidney injury in October, and then a broken finger in March, ending faint hopes of a call-up to England's World Cup squad.

Wigan boss Paul Jewell has now taken a gamble on Kirkland, signing him on a six-month loan deal with a view to a permanent move, and with the hope his luck has finally turned and his troubles are behind him.

Kirkland said: 'I've been through tough times, times when I thought about quitting.

'I've thought to myself 'I've had enough'. At its toughest I've come back from one long-term injury and then been out with another long-term injury.

'But my family and my wife got me through it. I've had to realise things have happened which I've not been able to do anything about.

'So now I have to stay positive and upbeat. Just being out training again yesterday put a great big smile on my face and I can't wait for training again today.

'I have to believe this is a turning point. I see it as the start of my career again, and I'm grateful to Wigan. Hopefully I can repay them.'

Kirkland is certainly hoping he does enough to impress Jewell as it has been spelled out to him by Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez that his Anfield career is over.

'There's no going back to Liverpool, the gaffer has made that clear,' revealed Kirkland.

'I've been told it's best I move on and to look elsewhere.

'When I joined Liverpool I was very proud to sign for them because it is a club I have always supported, but some things don't work out in life.

'When you are not wanted somewhere it's hard to stay, so as far as I'm concerned I'm now a Wigan player and hopefully on January 1 I can sign a proper contract.'

Although never capped by England, Kirkland has previously trained with the squad, and returning to the international fold is a long-term ambition.

'I'm not thinking about England,' insisted Kirkland.

'That's the last thing on my mind at the moment because first I have to get back to playing regular club football.

'If I don't do that then I'm not going to get into the England squad.

'But hopefully if I get a good season under my belt, then maybe sometime in the future I might get into a squad.'