March 11 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
It seems strange some have doubted the character and desire of Ricky van Wolfswinkel in recent weeks. A few minutes in his company at Norwich City’s Colney Training Ground on Monday, and the notion felt ridiculous.
The Canaries’ record signing picked up a toe injury in mid-September’s home defeat to Aston Villa. He played at Stoke and against Chelsea in the following weeks – and even eked out a brief substitute appearance against Cardiff at the end of October.
All of which was a noble effort and something that should speak volumes of his desire to play a part. But ultimately, it only made matters worse.
Not even the words of his girlfriend’s father, a certain Dutch legend by the name of Johan Neeskens, could ensure Ricky played the long game with his toe.
“Of course he has a lot of experience all around the world and he understands football,” said RVW. “And with my injury, it was really frustrating and I talked with him, and he told me to take my time and recover well.
“And to be honest, I didn’t really listen to anyone. I started too quick because I wanted to come back.
“The Cardiff game, I wanted to play because I saw the team wasn’t playing well and I was frustrated. It’s just a toe – that’s what you think. I tried to play against Cardiff a bit but I found I really couldn’t, and I needed to take my time.
“It’s such a small injury and every morning you wake up and start to feel it being better.
“The people here guided me very well. I wasn’t really listening to them sometimes and I made some mistakes, some wrong choices. For example, to play against Cardiff was my call and they said it’s better you don’t. But I wanted to, and it didn’t work out. After that, I had to be honest and take my time, take my rest, because the next thing would’ve been an operation and you don’t want to go there.
“It feels really good now. It took a while, but now it’s feeling great.”
Having had to battle for fitness, Van Wolfswinkel now faces a battle to break into the team after City’s success with Johan Elmander and Gary Hooper leading the line – not that RVW is concerned.
“Actually, it’s the last thing I’ll worry about,” said smiled. “The main thing is I’m back on the pitch training, playing, available to be in the first 11 or to come off the bench. I’m just happy to be there.
“And of course, Hoops has made some great goals and that’s what we need. So I’m really happy for him, for us, and Johan’s playing well too, for me. So they’re a good couple – I’ll need to work hard to get back in.”
While his biggest summer outlay may be yet to bear most fruit, Chris Hughton is clearly excited at having his full, reinvented strike force properly available for the first time since putting it together.
“When we brought Ricky in, it was our first big signing ,” said the City boss. “When we brought Gary in, there was no guarantee or anything written that the two of them would play together. That’s the competition you want. What is good is that in what’s been a decent run for us, we want to keep that going and we’re able to bring someone of Ricky’s calibre. That’s very much a plus for us.
“We’ve been delighted with Ricky, with what he’s given us, because he works very hard for the team and even in the period where he came on at Sunderland, he came on with a specific role and did it very well.
“The injury came at a difficult time for him. Sometimes when you’re a striker you’ll hit it off straight away with goals, sometimes it takes a little longer to get into that stride. The period he’s been out might have been the period where he got into that stride and scored those goals.
“He’s very good to have around, a good character. It’s been a difficult time with the injury but we’re very much looking forward to what he can give us.”