Grant Holt hopes King's Lynn move is a step on the road to becoming a manager
Grant Holt says he hopes his return to non-league football will be a step towards a future as a manager - but admits he would have considered Carlisle United had his home-city club called.
The striker this week joined King's Lynn Town as a player-coach and made his debut for the Evo-Stik Southern Premier club on Tuesday night.
The 36-year-old former Premier League frontman, from Harraby, says he turned down several options from Leagues One, Two and the National League because the playing and coaching opportunities at the Norfolk club "ticked more boxes".
The possibility of joining the Blues, though, was never a prospect.
"For me, that might have been a different option, but the option was never there for me to take," Holt said.
"I've not heard anything from anyone up there in terms of wanting to take me in. If that option had come it would have been something I would definitely have looked at - there would have been a bit of heart and head in the decision certainly.
"But they never rang me or instigated anything. They've got Richie Bennett in there - he was their signing in my mould for the start of the season - so I never thought it was an option anyway."
Holt has been linked with United at various stages in his career without a move ever materialising, but he now has one eye on his future beyond his playing days.
The former Norwich favourite says he still has the hunger to keep playing but the chance to develop as a coach at King's Lynn was a big factor in his decision.
The move is also suitable as he lives in the Norwich area but Holt says would not have joined the non-league club had the set-up not been right.
"The overriding thing was the fact I had the opportunity to coach as well as play," said Holt, who was a free agent after leaving Hibernian in the summer.
"I'm at the time in my life when I'm lucky to be able to pick and choose what I want to do. Hibs was a fantastic year and I loved it, but the commuting was tough. We got to grips with it in the end and I think people saw the best of me from November onwards because of that, but since then I have wanted to sit back, look at everything and take my time to decide on what I wanted to be.
"In the end this just felt right. The kids enjoy me being home, and this also works well for my next development.
"At some point I want to be a manager. It's what I want to work towards. You might not know when you're ready for a management job until it comes in your lap but, in the meantime, you have to develop and learn different skills.
"I've known the manager here, Ian Culverhouse, from my time at Norwich and Aston Villa, and the chairman [Stephen Cleeve] has his ideas too. The time commitments give me the licence of being able to continue my media work as well as build-up my coaching.
"It ticked all the boxes. I had opportunities to go just into coaching jobs but I still felt I still wanted to play."
Holt, who is close to completing his UEFA A Licence coaching qualifications, came off the bench for the Linnets in their 2-0 win against Hitchin on Tuesday in front of a 1,067 crowd.
The former Workington and Barrow man said he had no misgivings about continuing his playing career at a much lower level than the bulk of his professional career.
Holt said: "I've been there before with Barrow and Workington, and when you're in the game, everything else is irrelevant - it's a game of football.
"You play exactly as you'd play any other game and keep doing the same things.
"Of course the standard's not what I've been used to but at the same time, I'm a year older. You've got to balance that. I feel I'm fit and it's just a case of getting a feel for things again on the pitch.
"You've got to have the hunger to still want to do it. I wouldn't have been on the treadmill for the last eight weeks if I didn't need to.
"To get 30 minutes at the end was great on Tuesday but it was also a good opportunity to sit back, have a look at everything and see what the group of players has got."