Andy Waterworth programme article

Posted : 10th November 2018

Andy Waterworth bagged a last gasp equaliser for Linfield when he headed in against Warrenpoint with the last kick/head of the game for his 12th goal of the season. ‘Look at Linfield’ caught up with the striker after the game and he had mixed feelings when asked about his goal return this season so far.

“I am happy that I have been able to score goals in a season where I have played almost half my games from the bench and in some games I was coming on very late. However – I have felt I have missed a lot of chances this season, so I am always going to be disappointed that I have not helped the team more. Especially the Ards game at home, as I felt I could have put the game to bed early on.”

The 32 year-old missed a large chunk of last season and such was the timing of the unfortunate injury, his hard work in the previous months had been undone, which had a knock-on effect when he returned. Now, the striker is back with the bit between his teeth.

“Last season was a tough one for me. I had a nasty knee injury sustained at Celtic Park and it took me a while to get over it. When I finally did get back on the pitch, I was playing catch-up and the games we were playing in were big games and I didn’t feel sharp. This year I feel physically great. I did have a slight issue with a back strain but all in all, I do feel good which is crucial as my game is based quite a lot around running and my physical capacity to make a lot of runs. We are playing a slightly different way which dictates that my role in the team outside the box is different. Ultimately, in regards to myself I know I am judged on goals and we as a team are judged on trophies, so I maintain that a high tally of goals and a few trophies in the trophy room will be the key objective. At Linfield, there is a demand for success and it is the biggest club in the land. As players, we know if you cannot maintain the success and high standards of the club, you will be replaced and I am fully aware of that.”

The Crossgar man, who has netted 133 goals in 236 appearances for the club, says he has been impressed with fellow striker Michael O’Connor and feels the pair could form a good strike partnership for Linfield.

“I have played quite a lot as a lone striker in my career. The way the game is going tactically, I believe there is less of an emphasis on formations and more roles and responsibilities on the pitch. Every game is unique which allows for certain ways of playing. When you are playing up front by yourself, it requires you to be very efficient with your running. I do believe if you have strikers who can play together, then get them on the pitch. I enjoy playing with Michael. I have been really impressed with him and as a bonus, he compliments my game. He likes to come short and wrestle with defenders, whereas I like to run into space behind and get in the box. We get on very well off the pitch too and I do believe he has the talent to be a very big player for this club, going forward. Cameron Stewart is similar to Michael and we have young Daniel Reynolds who is a bit like myself, so it’s a nice blend of age and skill sets.”

Former Hamilton Academical striker Waterworth says there is things they have to work on, particularly when they come up against defensive teams and says it’s up to the players to take responsibility.

“I do believe we have been underperforming against the teams that ‘park the bus’ against us. We have found it hard to break them down. This is down to the players to work it out and we have been below par at doing this. As attacking/forward players, we have to have the capabilities to take that extra touch or do something innovative to create a goal scoring opportunity and then the ultimate aim of actually taking our chances. Although – I do feel the dynamic of the league has changed over the past 4/5 years and teams are so much better and there are literally no easy games any more. We watch our games back and there are games where we have all agreed that performances are not good enough. With this in mind, there are games we have been very good in and we need to just gain a little bit more consistency in results and be a bit more clinical in front of goal.”

Linfield’s top goal scorer finished by looking forward to this afternoon’s fixture against Coleraine, who Andy believes have a lot of talent and will provide a tough task, with some former Linfield players amongst their ranks.

“Coleraine have probably found out what Linfield face year in, year out. When you are at the top, games become harder and clubs across the water want your players. I think they are a great club and have a brilliant team. In two of my former team mates Aaron Burns and Stevie Lowry, they are up there as two of the best players I have played with and they have a plethora of other top players as well, so they will be in the title mix for sure. They have had a mixed bag of results but as I have mentioned previously, the league is so tough and if you are having a tough run of games, the league can be unforgiving.”

Best wishes to fan favourite Waterworth for today’s tough encounter and for the remainder of the season. Everyone connected with the club will hope to see the prolific marksman continue to bang in the goals to fire The Blues to glory
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