MICHAEL CHOPRA insists he is a man for the quiet life and in Alloa - population 19,000 - he is almost certain to find it. It still seems slightly incongruous that this figure who emerged at Newcastle United under the tutelage of Alan Shearer, and who once drew transfer fees of £5m and £3m, should end up signing with a small part-time club in the Scottish second tier. Perhaps most surprising for a player with a strong sense of wanderlust, who lists nine clubs on his CV from various spots in England, Wales and India, should not only sign for Alloa Athletic but then return again for a second spell a few months later. There must be something about the serenity of Clackmannanshire that agrees with him.

Alloa only train two nights a week and, given Chopra does not work during the day, the option of staying in his hometown of Newcastle and commuting would have been a viable one. Chopra, though, is happy to put down roots in the town having signed a one-year deal following a brief three-month stint in the second half of last season.

“I stay locally,” he tells the Sunday Herald. “Newcastle is only two-and-a-half hours away so after a game I head back home then come back again at the start of the next week for training. It’s been fine staying in Alloa. I’m quiet, I keep myself to myself and like to do things mainly on my own. If I want to go to the cinema I head to Stirling as there is not much in Alloa, but it’s nice to get around the place. You do get one or two fans coming up to you but I’m used to that now.”

Chopra is of Indian stock and played in the country’s Super League last year for the Kerala Blasters, the team co-owned by cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar. He spent this summer back on the subcontinent, exploring the possibility of sourcing another club while also looking to advance his chances of one day representing the Indian national team.

“It was great being in India and it was special to go out there,” he added. “As well as having a holiday, one of the main things was to try to talk to a few clubs out there but I got messed about a bit by one or two people. You get people saying they will speak to you and then nothing happens. I just thought “I’ve had enough of this” and decided I would go back to England get something sorted out in the UK.”

That would lead to a return to Alloa. Not short of self-confidence, Chopra realises he will be seen as the marquee player in Danny Lennon’s squad this season as they look to maintain their Championship status for another year. It is a responsibility the 31 year-old is comfortable with.

“At every club there is someone who carries an extra burden and I’m honoured and privileged to be pretty much the main man at Alloa,” he added. “I will help the other players as much as I can and pass my experience on to them if that’s what they want. When I was growing up in Newcastle I had Alan Shearer telling me how hard to play and he took me under his wing. I’ll try to do the same with our young players here.

“A lot of what happens to Alloa this season will be down to me, how fit I am and how well I can play. I’m now looking into training with a full-time club on the days that Alloa aren’t training because it’s okay running in the gym and doing weights, but you get your match sharpness from training every day.”

Chopra made his Alloa debut against Rangers back in March and is enthused about taking on the same opposition again today when Mark Warburton’s side roll into town. A former team-mate of both Andy Halliday and Martyn Waghorn, the striker is enthused about trying to bring about an upset.

“You want to test yourself against the bigger players in the division and they don’t come much bigger than Rangers. You know the ground will be full and they’ll bring a lot of supporters but you look at our team’s performances against Rangers last year – even before I arrived – and they beat them and drew a couple of times. You just need to look at last weekend and Hibs losing to Dumbarton to show how tight a division this is. Anyone can beat anyone on their day.”