McCarthy: Signing Waghorn a No-Brainer
Monday, 7th Aug 2017 16:32
Town boss Mick McCarthy says signing Martyn Waghorn was a no-brainer once he was aware the 27-year-old was available and affordable. The Blues recruited the one-time Sunderland and Leicester man from Rangers earlier today for a fee understood to be around the £1 million mark.
McCarthy admitted that Waghorn wasn’t a player he had been actively keeping tabs on prior to making the move for him last week.
“I hadn’t, but I know Waggy,” the Blues manager said. “We tend to be looking at ones that we don’t know.
“We get names, emails, texts, Whatsapps to us and they’re all ‘Can you have a look at this striker, he’s a got a good left foot, a good right foot, he’s quick, good in the air, scores goals, is good with his back to goal, can drop in, he can drop off, he can defend at corners. And the best thing about him is that he’s on a free transfer!’.
“So I’ve looked at hundreds of those for a while and they can’t do all those things generally when they’re on a free transfer.
“And it came to my attention that Waggy was was available. I’ve always liked him. He was at Sunderland when I was the manager there but I can’t really remember him from that.
“But I remember his time at Leicester certainly and I’ve always admired him. He was brilliant in the game when they beat us 6-0, although they all were, we were particularly poor.
“So I’ve always admired him and watched him and when I was told he might be available and we could afford to do it, it was an absolute no-brainer for me that we could take him, he’s a good player.”
What will he offer? “First and foremost he's one of us that wants to graft hard and put his shift in, he’s a trier, which is a good starting point.
“He’s got good ability, he can play either side but he’s got the number nine, he's going to be the centre forward. That doesn’t mean he’s definitely going to play, he’s got a helluva task on getting in the way Joe and Freddie played on Saturday.
“And Didzy, I’m sure he didn’t feel great on Saturday when he was seeing the other two play.
“But my hope is that I can get two players for every position and if I want to play somebody on Saturday and change them and then play the other two, I think I’ve got that choice now, I think I’ve got players with equal ability.”
McCarthy says he’s available for tomorrow’s Carabao Cup tie at Luton - “He is, we’re waiting for international clearance, but he was registered in time, I'm told” - when he could partner his former Rangers team-mate Joe Garner.
Town fans saw Garner’s all-action, never-give-defenders-a-moment’s-peace approach at Portman Road for the first time on Saturday when he scored a debut winner in the 1-0 victory over Birmingham. Is Waghorn cut from the same cloth?
“I’ll find out when he’s been in the door a little bit longer,” he said. “But I’ve always thought Waggy was a bit the same as that. From the North-East, which is a good breeding ground for that type of player.
“He’s always given me that impression when he’s played against us and I’ve watched him, that he’s that sort.
“They played together for Rangers, I think if they played together - and who knows, it might be Freddie and Didz who are playing - but if those two play together I think they’ll be a handful for anybody.”
Sunderland were reported to be keen to re-sign the South Shields-born frontman, who came through their youth system. Was McCarthy aware of other interest in his new signing?
“I wouldn’t know,” he said. “But I like that if there were. There’s always rumours, aren’t there? And I guess it’s a good negotiating tool, ‘We’ve got about seven other clubs that want to sign him’. ‘Oh, really? We better get our backsides in gear and do it’. There was interest in him, there’s no doubt about that. Yes, yes there was.”
McCarthy says there's been a conscious effort to add a bit of grit to the squad and make a few changes this summer.
“If you went in our building and spoke to all the players, you’d like every one of them, there’s not one of them you wouldn’t find engaging and happy to spend time with,” he added.
“But I don’t want them to be like that on the pitch. I want them to be nasty, horrible, professional, have a bit of arrogance about of them, be a bunch of sods really because the best teams are, let’s make no bones about it.
“The best teams who have won championships, they might play wonderfully, silky football but they generally get about you as well and stop you playing.
“Yes, it was. Pits [Brett Pitman] scored [11 goals for us the year before last]. [I was asked why he was moved on], but I just wanted to change it around and it was an opportunity to do it.
“And I think it brings fresh ideas, fresh legs, fresh minds into the building and people who are ambitious to do well here, not just being here.
“And that’s no fault of Pits’s because he was here and he scored, he didn’t play every week. You can get a bit not so bothered, ‘I’m not going to play…’.
“So it was my ambition to get fresh faces in who want to kickstart their careers. I like the ones that have gone up to Rangers, did all right, Waggy did well actually, I like those type of players. Garns was the same.
“I like people who have something to prove and he’s a good age, 27, he’s in the prime of his career.”
Did Garner having signed from Rangers play a role in attracting Waghorn to Portman Road? Not really but I did ask Joe whether he liked him or he loathed him because if he loathed him it might be pretty stupid bringing him in! Quite clearly he said he liked him.”
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