Coke aims to fizz
By Mandeep Sanghera
BBC.co.uk, 11 September 2006
Giles Coke has endured some of the lows football has to offer but his sights are now set on sampling the highs after rescuing his career.
The 20-year-old midfielder saw his dream of playing League football shattered when told by QPR he was not good enough to make the grade at Loftus Road.
But he is now at Mansfield and, after returning to fitness, aiming to build on the impressive form which last season saw the League Two club reject a bid for him from Championship side Wolves.
Coke was also linked to several clubs, including Premiership newcomers Watord, as he was rewarded for the attitude and focus that helped him resurface back into the Football League after falling into the depths of the non-league game.
"I was in pieces after being let go by QPR," Coke told BBC Sport.
"I had a meeting, along with my mum and dad, where QPR's then assistant Tim Breaker and their current manager Gary Waddock told me they weren't going to keep me on.
"It did affect me. I was really upset but you can't let that get to you because it can be bad for your football. You just have to work hard to try and get back up.
"I trialled at a few clubs but it didn't go my way. I had to drop into non-league and was determined to get back into the League so I just worked hard, had a good attitude and got on with it.
"A lot of young players do let it get to them and they do sack football off completely but there was only one thing in my mind.
"I've always wanted to play football so I had to work hard and try and come back. I never thought of giving up."
Coke's perseverance paid off when he was signed by ex-Mansfield boss Carlton Palmer in March 2005 and, despite being thrown in at the deep end, he rose to the challenge.
He added: "Carlton Palmer took me on trial and the first week I was there he put me in a first-team game straight away.
"I was a bit shocked and nervous but as soon as I got out there I felt good.
"It was great achievement for me. After getting released, coming back and having clubs sniff around made me really happy."
This campaign was supposed to see Coke push on, but an ankle ligament injury in the first game of the season left him sidelined for four weeks.
His enthusiasm saw him make the injury worse when he played on rather than coming off, although he is now back and aiming to re-establish his reputation as one of the division's most promising youngsters.
Coke does have the backdrop of having refused a new deal with Mansfield to contend with but, after the club activated a clause in his contract to keep him for the current campaign, the youngster indicated a sign of his maturity in shrugging off the situation.
"I'm not really thinking about it to be honest," said Coke. "I'm just getting on with my football.
"I can't let things get to me and whatever happens happens. I just need to get on with my football and that is my priority."
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