Steven Whittaker is ready to get stuck in for Norwich City
Fit-again Steven Whittaker is desperate to make up for lost time when he faces Tottenham on Capital One Cup duty after the worst injury-hit year of his career.
The summer signing from Rangers is set for his long-waited Norwich City senior debut this evening after suffering ankle ligament damage in the pre-season friendly at Celtic.
Whittaker's final campaign at Ibrox was interrupted by a hernia operation but the 28-year-old is now ready to play his part for the Canaries.
'I've actually done well with injuries but since the start of the year I had a hernia op in January and that was probably the longest I had been out. I was out for two to three months,' he said. 'Then I started this season with another lay-off so this year has probably been the worst – but hopefully that can be put behind me.
'It was frustrating but once I got my head around that I was going to be out for a little bit it's about trying to get back as quick as possible. I'm an honest boy – I've always come in and done my work. I will always come in and try get back as quick as possible.
'I was keen to be involved but the manager was happier for me to just get back in training to start with but I'm used to playing games, especially up in Scotland, I'm used to playing 50-60 games a season.
'I need that match fitness behind me and I'm desperate to play in any game that came my way – there just happened not to be any (with the international break).'
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Whittaker is a four-time winner of the same competition north of the border with Rangers and Hibernian, but the Scot has more modest ambitions ahead of his City debut.
'I've looked forward to it – I obviously thought it would have come before now but the injury got in the way,' he said. 'I'm looking forward to getting stuck in. I think I've won it four times in Scotland, because I won it once with Hibs as well. It's something that I definitely learned moving from Hibs to Rangers – it was one of the biggest kind of tests to have that winning mentality - they demand you win trophies and I was lucky enough to do that.
'It's obviously a harder task given the opposition in England but cup runs are always nice and hopefully we can go on in the competition. Spurs are a top side with some great players and it's definitely one that I'm looking forward to.'
Whittaker is ready for any challenge – even a potential match-up with Tottenham's Welsh thoroughbred Gareth Bale.
'He is one of the most talked about players in the Premier League. He's got quality – he showed that in the Scotland game against Wales with two fantastic goals,' he said. 'He's definitely got quality and that's why I've moved here to play against players like this and test myself. It's not about one player – we all defend and attack as a team. You need all your players to help you.'