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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Nick Ward Profiled/Interviewed - BBC


BBC - Ward vows to make his mark
By Chris Bevan

I wanted to play in Europe - whether it was in England or on the continent - so this was always going to be the next step
QPR midfielder Nick Ward

QPR's capture of Australian midfielder Nick Ward may not have been the highest-profile signing of the summer but his arrival caused quite a stir around Loftus Road.

The 21-year-old arrives in Shepherds Bush with an impressive pedigree.

In 2005 he starred in the World Youth Cup and along with Wayne Rooney was named as one of Fifa's young stars of the year.

Playing for Perth Glory last season, Ward was voted the new Australian A-League's inaugural 'Rising Star' - their young player of the year award.

He was on the fringes of the Socceroos squad for this summer's World Cup - and the Australian Football Federation were desperate for him to continue playing in his homeland.

Ward tells BBC Sport why he decided to join the R's and how he hopes to make his mark on the Championship.


The heart had gone out of the old national league in Australia but the A-League has been a big success. They restructured it so there was only really one team per major city and it has worked.

With the Socceroos at the World Cup too the game really took off - it had never done that in Australia before.

In terms of numbers of youngsters involved in a sport, football is the second-biggest over there behind swimming - all the kids are playing it and it is thriving.


If you look at the Australian squad who were at the World Cup, everyone is playing in Europe.

I was part of the training squad for that this summer but just missed out and that was one of the reasons for moving over here - I don't want to miss out again.

I was told it was down to match fitness - the A-League in Australia is only 21 games and I wasn't playing games when the selection was made.


The Australian Football Federation did not want me to leave because they were trying to protect their League.

They don't want to see their best young players go - but I thought it was the right time to leave.

I always wanted to play in Europe, whether it was in England or on the continent, so this was always going to be the next step.

I knew QPR had a great history and that they were a big club who had been in the Premier League.

I looked into it and weighed up my options - I just thought it was a great opportunity and I know Australia is always going to be there for me to go back to if things don't work out.


This is a challenge and I am relishing it.

I have settled in quite well. I have been here four weeks and am in my new flat now and have got a car so everything is going well.

My parents are both from England and emigrated to Australia so we were the only ones there and the rest of the family is here. I am not here on my own so things are not too bad.


I think I have made the right decision and the two games I have played in already have been a good experience and enlightened me to a different style of play.

It is a different style of play over here to what I am used to. In Australia, teams are more patient and there are not as many long balls.

That is something that will take a few games to get used to because I am a player who likes it a little more on the ground.

It is a bit more physical too and I have noticed you can get away with a bit more over here - but they are all little things and I don't see them as a problem.


I enjoyed my home debut against Leeds - there was a great crowd and atmosphere and Loftus Road is a really good ground too.

It was a tough match and I don't think I played one of my better games but there is better stuff to come.

As an attacking midfielder I want to score goals.

With the amount of games in the season if I stay injury free and can play regularly then I will be looking to score about 10 goals a season.

Those are my personal goals and as for the team, well we have to aim for the play-offs.


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