Thursday, July 5, 2012
Defender Steven Whittaker admits he may have to curb his goalscoring instincts with Norwich City – but still hopes to launch the occasional raid from full-back.
The Scotland international scored 11 times in one season with Glasgow Rangers back in 2009-10, and added another seven in the next campaign.
He totalled 28 goals in 207 senior appearances during his five years with the club, so there is nothing wrong with his eye for goal – or his maths.
“I looked the other day and I think it was 28,” said new manager Chris Hughton’s first summer signing. “I had a very successful scoring season two years ago when I scored 11 from full-back, which was good, but I think this is going to be different in the fact that at Rangers, we attacked the majority of the games, we were the top team in that league and we had a licence to go forward.
“Here it’s going to be tougher opposition, better players, but I hope I can still get a little cameo going forward and if I can score goals that will be great.”
Just where Whittaker features in Hughton’s Premier League formation could determine how much scope there is to attack, but his versatility was one thing that appealed to the City boss.
“I’ve played all across the back four and all across the midfield for Rangers, so whatever is put my way I’ll try to adapt to it the best I can,” he said. “I’m predominantly a full-back but in my younger days I played in midfield, so I still remember the times and wherever I’m asked to play I’ll always give 100 per cent.”
There is at least one familiar face in the City squad in Scotland team-mate Russell Martin, but Whittaker does not necessarily see them vying for one position in defence.
He said: “Russ is quite versatile as well and can play along the back four, so there’s nothing to stop us playing in the same team. I know Russ from my time with the Scotland squad. He’s been great since I got here so I’m looking forward to playing with him and the rest of the squad.”
Hughton believes Whittaker’s experience means he should make a smooth transition from the Scottish Premier League to the English equivalent.
“Steven’s a player of vast experience who can play in a few positions and is used to playing at the top level,” said Hughton. “He’s certainly used to playing in big stadiums and with the quality games he has played at international level and at Rangers, he’s a player that certainly is used to the big atmosphere. It was the quality of the player, his experience and adaptability.
“He won’t be fazed by anything the Premier League holds even though it is his first foray into this division. The fact he can play in a few positions is always valuable to a manager. I think it gives us options and him options.
“It’s an exciting time for him – 28 years of age. He might be a player that ends up having a very long career but certainly at 28 you are starting to approach what you regard as your peak, even though he’s a very fit lad and could possibly go on for many more years.
“It’s an exciting prospect for him to come here and experience a different club. He’s been at Rangers a long time and has been in Scottish football all his life.”