Christie Elliott uses words like “lucky” and “fortunate” when talking you through his career, but you wonder whether those truly apply when you consider the path he took.

Carlisle’s new right-back did not take the academy route. Instead of being developed in a larger club’s environment, Elliott is more of a throwback.

He believes the road he travelled – playing with friends, then into non-league, then the leap into the senior game – left a lasting mark on a game which he hopes will benefit this Blues this season.

“I played with my mates at a younger age and stuck with that throughout. I got into England Schoolboys when I was 16 and went into Wallsend Boys Club,” says the South Shields native. “I then got a move to Whitley Bay to play semi-pro.

“I think I’ve benefited from not being in an academy. It meant I didn’t change the way I played. I always had a smile on my face. I was happy and no-one was dictating how I should play.

“I’ve always loved football because of that. I’ve got mates who were in academies until they were 18, then got released and just got a normal job. It was always my ambition to play football and you can never give up.

“I wouldn’t change anything. I’ve been lucky and blessed in the way I’ve done it.”

Elliott looks likely to provide energy and pace from the right of United’s defence. Steven Pressley hopes the 28-year-old can contribute significantly to his intended playing style in 2019/20. He is not an archetypal right-back who has held the position for many years; he has occupied a number of roles in his career and it is only relatively recently that he has been based in a team’s defence.

“I’ve played that many positions, but I’ve found the one I’m suited to now,” he says. “I’m up and down, good at going forward. My defensive side is getting much better as well. But I like going forward a lot. Hopefully I can create a few chances and get a few goals myself.”

Elliott says Pressley’s plans appealed to him when he decided to join Carlisle early in the summer after an eight-year stint at Partick Thistle. He made that move to Scotland after his time with both Jarrow and Whitley Bay and it proved a jump which bestowed great memories.

“Winning the league in my second year there was unbelievable,” he says. “I also scored a good goal against Celtic, which is something I’ll never forget.

“Originally, when I played against Celtic, they had Virgil Van Dijk, who was unbelievable. It’s a hard league, and every team you play gives you a really tough game. I’ve gained a lot of experience from playing in Scotland and I’m hoping to bring that here.”

It was not always smooth for Elliott, particularly when his standing at Partick saw him rewarded with the captaincy last year. He later handed the armband back after confessing it was affecting his game and his state of mind.

“Everyone I spoke to said it was the right thing for me at the time, but I think I dealt with it in the wrong way,” he says.

“When I’m in football I like joking about, having a laugh, but I lost a lot of that because I thought with captaincy I had to change.

“I let it affect me too much. I was worried about everyone else rather than concentrating on myself. Normally, if I concentrate on myself, I know that everything good will come. If [captaincy] ever was to come again, I would just be myself.”

Elliott, who got married this summer, has come through what players have described as a tough pre-season in which Pressley has drilled his fitness demands. The day on the sand dunes at Lytham St Annes, the defender says, “was one of the hardest sessions I’ve done” but also something that “builds character”.

United will attempt to demonstrate such character, and hopefully some quality, from now until next May. Elliott was, he says, eager for the challenge from an early stage. “I’d been in Scotland for eight years and my ambition was always to try English [league] football,” he says.

“I’ve got the opportunity now. It’s a big club, a really successful club, hopefully we can bring more success and get them promoted, and you never know where it could go.

“Come the end of last season I was speaking to a few different teams but when I came up, met the manager and saw everything about the club, that was the turning point. From then I wanted the deal done quicker rather than wait and drag on. It’s something I was really happy with.”

Pressley, too, wants his signings and existing players all on the same page. If this new United is to defy some expectations this season, they will need to be.

“When I met him [Pressley] you could see his ambitions and the way he wants to play and get the team set up,” Elliott says, “and the importance of those fitness levels is something he is trying to stamp in.

“Everyone has to give 100 per cent. If a boy is slacking a bit, you will see that ambition come through him and the team, because he wants everyone to do well. If we stick to the plan I’m sure we will.”

How far does he feel United can realistically aim? “It’s always hard at the start, with a new team gelling, but it seems like a good group, with good characters. Our ambition is to get promoted, so hopefully from the off we are all on the same page and can do that for the club.”