Riza still harbours managerial aspirations

MANAGERIAL HOPES: Omer Riza
MANAGERIAL HOPES: Omer Riza

After getting a taste of full-time management at Leyton Orient last season, Omer Riza is making no secret of his desire to return to the dugout.

But, while he waits for that opportunity to arise, the former Arsenal, West Ham United and Cambridge United attacker is more than happy to continue in his playing role at Newmarket Town.

An unused substitute in the Champions League, Riza made just one senior appearance for the Gunners before embarking on a career that took him to England, Holland and Turkey.

He dropped out of the professional game in 2011 and after taking on various non-league playing and coaching positions, the 38-year-old was placed in caretaker charge of Orient in March 2017.

Despite being a popular figure at the Matchroom Stadium, the O’s were relegated from the Football League after 112 years and Riza’s services were not retained.

It left Riza without a club until he took a call from long-term friend — and Newmarket’s player-assistant — Michael Shinn last month.

The UEFA A Licence holder has gone on to make four appearances for the Jockeys, scoring once and laying on a couple of goals for his new team-mates.

And while Riza has conceded his stint at The Bloorie.com Stadium may be short-lived, for the time being he is determined to muck in.

“I have been watching a lot of matches, but when I spoke to Michael and the chance to play again came up, I decided to go for it,” he said.

“There is no secret — I enjoyed the job at Orient and I am looking to get back into management as soon as I can. But when I am playing for Newmarket my sole focus will be on them.

“It has been a bit of a topsy-turvy season for the club. They are rebuilding and I am happy to be involved with that.

“There is a great togetherness among the players. They are a tight-knit bunch and at this level that is important.

“I am trying to be the best role model I can be. I am being professional and while I will not get involved with the tactics, I try to use my experience on the pitch.

“Ultimately I have to do my job because no team can carry a player, no matter what you have done or who you have previously played for.”

In terms of his next job, Riza remains open to all offers.

There is, however, one major stipulation — any interested parties must be run in an efficient manner.

“I will not shut any doors,” added the ex-Histon frontman.

“I have managed in League 2 and loved it. I know I can do it that level.

“But if a job lower down came up, as long as they have the right aspirations and are run professionally, I would be open to that.

“I want to be part of a club that wants to push on.

“I have experience from the Premier League all the way down — I just need a chairman to give me a chance.”