Waghorn: Return to Premier League Remains Ambition
Thursday, 10th Aug 2017 16:50
Town new boy Martyn Waghorn is relishing the challenge on offer at Portman Road – the opportunity to return to where it all started for him in the Premier League.
Almost a decade has passed since the 17-year-old Waghorn made his debut for first club Sunderland, managed at the time by Roy Keane, but he only clocked up another four top-flight appearances and is eager to rub shoulders again with English football’s finest.
Waghorn, 27, said: “Roy was the guy who started it all off for me and I’ll be forever grateful for that. He gave me my debut when he chucked me in at the deep end against Manchester United on Boxing Day, which was some fixture. That’s just the way he was and it was brilliant for me.
“Hard work, hard graft – that was all he wanted – and I loved my time under him. I’ll never forget what he did for me. I don’t keep in touch with him but I saw him when I was at Wigan a while back and that’s about it. Sometimes in football you just move on and you lose contact with people but he’s a big figure in my progression as a player.
“Playing in the Premier League is still an ambition of mine. It’s the best league in the world and you see what it’s like these days with the players who are there and the level of quality. I started there and I definitely want to get back there.
“If we can keep up our promising start, tick off the games and keep doing what we’ve been doing, we’ve got a right good chance of being in and around the top six.
"Don’t get me wrong, it’s a long season and I know how tough it is, but with the set of lads we have here and the way that we are, it’s hopefully going to be a good year.”
Town may have started the new campaign as relegation candidates in the eyes of several bookmakers but last weekend’s home win over Birmingham, together with another victory over Luton in the Caribao Cup on Tuesday, have boosted morale among players and fans alike.
Still early days, of course, but Waghorn is convinced he has joined a club on the up after departing Rangers to be reunited with ex-Ibrox colleague Joe Garner, who wasted no time in getting off the mark for Town, his debut goal against Birmingham coming after an impressive run of six in as many pre-season friendlies.
Waghorn added: “I’m 27 and I’m in a good place at the minute. Progressing forward, I know my body a lot better, I know where I’m going and I know how to deal with things.
"Like I say, I’m in a good place now and I just want to play games, which I see as crucial for a player of my age. Physically and mentally, I’m very pleased with where I’m at.
“Garns and I didn’t play that much as a pair, which was a shame. The style of play meant there was normally just one up top so it was between me, Garns and a couple of other players. When we did get a chance together I think we did quite well linking up.
“You know what you are going to get from Garns and as a striker working off him it’s good. To be honest it’s also easy because you know what he’s about and you know where you’ve got to go.
"It would have been nice to have played more with him but hopefully I’ll get that opportunity here, although there is also competition for places.
“You saw that on Tuesday at Luton when Didzy [David McGoldrick] got the goals. They were both good finishes from good build-up play.
"As a striker you have to relish the competition and it should bring out the best in you. If and when I get my chance I’ve got to take it so I’ve got to be ready. Regardless of who I’m playing alongside I just want to get that number nine shirt on and do my best.”
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