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Interviews

INTERVIEW: Hopefully we can achieve something great this year

14 October 2016

Derek Asamoah on joining United

Striker Derek Asamoah revealed today that manager Keith Curle was a big part of the reason behind his decision to sign a short-term deal which brings him back to Brunton Park for the next two months at least.

“I think the manager is the reason why I’m back here,” he said. “We had a good campaign last season but the manager wanted different things at the club when he looked at where he wanted to the team to go.
 
“We had to part ways at the end of the season but fortunately I’ve been invited back and I’m happy to be here. The manager has always looked out for me and I’m thankful that’s he’s brought me back in.

“For him to say nice things about me when I first came back up after what happened in the summer just shows the character of him. I’m very grateful that he’s given me this opportunity again.”

And he also revealed that his decision to the join the fans in the away end for the recent EFL Cup game at Derby County had been the catalyst to the discussions about a possible return which followed.

“I was chatting to Jabo [Ibehre] after the game and the gaffer came over and asked me what I was doing,” he explained. “I told him I was just enjoying my time with my family and he said ‘you need to be playing Derek - you’re too good not to be playing’. That was when the first contact was made.

“When we sat down together he told me he thinks we now have the players here who will suit my style of play. He said that if I felt it was the right time then I should come back up here. The reason was that he feels we now have players who can feed the ball through to someone like me, who runs in behind, and they’ll be able to find me.

“That’s obviously going to be good because it can be hard for a striker when you make runs but you never get to see the ball. We have players who were top assisters in the division last season and I’m really looking forward to playing alongside them.

“I’ve been made to feel very welcome and when I walked through the door people said ‘we just knew you were going to come back Derek!’ They’d been waiting for it and that made it easier because it is hard to come back to a club sometimes.

“Everyone was happy to see me and that’s a great feeling. There’s a real buzz around the place and you can actually feel it when you walk through the door. This is a good place to be because the team are doing really well. I’ve been looking out for the results and now that I’m here I’m hoping I can add to it. Hopefully I’ll be able to help out whenever I’m called upon.”

“I feel like I’m ready,” he confirmed. “I’ve been working really hard and I’m concentrating on getting as fit as I possibly can. I came through 90 minutes against Burnley on Tuesday, which was really pleasing, and I do feel ready to go.

“I like to keep myself fit anyway. Sometimes the gaffer has to tell me to take it easy and get some rest. I never ask for days off, I don’t use my age to get out of training or get out of doing a run. I do exactly the same as everyone else, more sometimes, and I think that helps when you have that mentality.

“It was frustrating when I was watching teams come back for pre-season training when I wasn’t involved. I did some training when I was out in Cyprus, but when I came back it was frustrating because I was itching to get back.

“I was actually going to stay and play in Cyprus during the summer but there were a few issues there with the finances, so it didn’t quite work out. I came back to England and spoke to a few clubs who were interested but, again, the finances weren’t right with some of them.

“With others, the first question I was getting asked was why I’d been let go from Carlisle because they thought I’d had a decent season. I told them they could give the manager a call and he would give them any references they needed, because I think they thought I was maybe a bad influence or something like that.”

“Things just seemed to fizzle out after that. I’m not sure if that was because I’m coming to the end of my career, but it’s still important to know your worth and to make sure the club understands that and appreciates you.

“I still think I’ve got a long way to go before I hang up my boots. I’m just really happy to have been invited to come back. I did think that it could have been the end of my career. When I was speaking to some of the fans at Derby they were asking me what was happening and I said that I thought I was just going to relax.

“As I say, it wasn’t until I spoke to the gaffer that him telling me I should still be playing rung a little alarm bell in my head. I thought to myself – yes, he’s right, I need to get back to it.”

On the strong relationship he has with the fans, he said: “I’d like to say a big thank you to the fans for the way they have got behind me. They’ve made the decision for me to come back ten times easier.

“It feels amazing. It’s not easy coming back to an old club because everyone will have an opinion. Everyone who has stopped me in the street is asking me if I’ve signed yet, or when I’m going to sign, which just feels amazing. It fills me with great confidence to know I’ve got the support of the fans and it makes life so much better and so much easier.

“I’ve got nothing but praise for them. They’re playing a big part in the team doing so well because the players can feel the support. It’s brilliant and long may it continue.

“I can genuinely feel the love here and I think I was always going to do this if I got the opportunity. I’m thankful to the manager for that being the case because I have such fond memories here. Hopefully, together, we can achieve something great this year.”

So will he be ready if the manager gives him the nod tomorrow?

“I would be delighted and more than happy to be involved,” he said. “I’ll always give 100% whenever I’m on the pitch for Carlisle United. I’m just looking forward to getting on with it.”

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