The 38 year old centre-forward said that playing until he’s 40 would be “the dream”.
Wilbraham signed for Bolton Wanderers in August on a one year contract, but says he can see his career lasting beyond that.
Starting his career at Stockport U19’s, he then moved on to the first team, then to Hull in 2004, MK Dons in 2005, Norwich City in 2011, Bristol City in 2014, before eventually landing at the Macron earlier this year.
Since his arrival Wilbraham has played 323 minutes across 12 games, despite being plagued by minor injuries throughout the season.
Wilbraham said he was pleased to sign for Bolton from Bristol, saying that: “It was good to have the interest, I mean I was re-signed at Bristol City to start with and they wanted to keep me but kind of developed me into a coach this season and I still felt that I could play some part in playing on the field.
“The main aim for me obviously was to come into a new challenge at Bolton having just been promoted from league one, which I’d done with Bristol City so I wanted to be part of that and wanted to come and join it and spoke to Mark Little and he was saying everything good about the club but also it was important for me to get home to my family as well so it’s nice that it came about and it was good when it finally got done.”
Wilbraham has been at clubs all over the country throughout his 20-year-long but being back Up North is where he feels most at home saying that:
“Yeah its good obviously, I moved away from living in this area back in 2004 when I joined Hull, and since then I’ve been to MK Dons, Norwich, Crystal Palace, Bristol City and back to Bolton.
It is good to be back around the area and to obviously see all the fans and my family and stuff but obviously the most important thing is doing well for the football club, I’ve not come back here just to get back home obviously, it’s a great club and I came back here because it was a good move for me.”
Settling into his new club at the Macron has been easy and he says that “I’ve settled in well to be fair, just I’ve had a few frustrating little injuries – not serious ones but kind of loads of little 2/3 week injuries all at once in the middle of October to the middle of November has been a bad kind of month but obviously I need to kick on now and get on my way.”
He signed for the Wanderers on August 3rd 2017 until June 30th 2018, and says that after it’s up he’s looking to carry on playing, despite being well over the retirement age for a footballer, he says he’s looking to play until he’s at least 40, saying:
“I always said I wanted to play as long as I could, and as long as the body is still feeling good, obviously I said there’s little injuries but it’s nothing major, but as long as I’m still training every day and feeling my appetite for it and still loving playing football and I’d like to go on and play as long as I can.
I did always say to myself that at 38, I’m obviously 38 now – three years over the retirement age for a footballer so I do appreciate that I’ve gone on a lot longer than a lot of other people have but now that I’ve got to 38 I’m eyeing up 40. 40 would be the dream – but obviously you’ve got to take every week as it comes.”
Age is definitely an advantage for him and not a set back saying that the experience helps to make better decisions, saying that “everybody would love to be young and energetic their whole career but experience definitely helps, it helps you make better decisions, better positioning, you can save yourself ten yards when before you used to have to run in position, thinking quicker
“I think every team needs a mixture of energetic and experience and I think we’re starting to get that in the team at the moment now and I think that’s why the results are starting to change and everyone’s together and I think no matter how long football goes on you need a good blend of youth and experience.”
His career is something that makes him proud to look back on, every team he’s signed for wins promotion and is hoping to carry on the lucky streak at Bolton.
“I started at Stockport so I don’t really include that but at every club I’ve signed for after that, the ones I just mentioned, MK Dons, Palace, Norwich, Bristol, I’ve been promoted at every club I’ve signed for to obviously I want to do the same for Bolton as well.
“It’s obvious we’ve not started the season the best but it’s still early days we’ve got a long way to go. I’m not saying we could get promoted this season but you ever know what can happen, but yeah I do look back with a lot of pride to have scored in all four divisions and to have been promoted from every division is probably something that not a lot of people have done and if people have done it they’ve probably stayed at that one team but I’ve done it with five different teams
“I’ve had two Johnsons paint trophy wins at Wembley as well so I’ve managed to have five promotions and two Wembley wins well three Wembley wins with the Palace play off final so yeah quite a good career to look back on.”
Looking back on all this success he says his favourite team he’s played for is Norwich as “having got to the premier league at the age of 31 thinking that I was probably never going to play there to get there with Norwich and then to be involved in 32 out of the 33 premier league games at Norwich is like a massive thing for me.
It was the season City won the league with that Aguero goal everyone will remember that season and to know I played 32 out of 33 games in that season for Norwich and it’s always something that I’ll look back on and remember.
But then obviously two years later I did it again with Palace at the play off final which is meant to be the most expensive game in the world and I played the full 120 minutes at Wembley so it’s hard to choose between the two but I think I’d have to go with Norwich just because I got a lot more game time playing with Norwich than at Palace.”
Listen to the full interview here: