Ward about the United game: To play there would be brilliant. A dream come true

Stephen Ward coming back from injury is – besides Nenad Milijas finding his own – the main reason to Wolves recent success in my opinion.

At first everybody thought that he would be out only for a couple of weeks after his injury, but then it was discovered that the injury was more severe than anticipated and more surgery was needed . And then complications came on that.

The Indepedent.ie writes about when Ward woke up in the ward (!) after the operation and found a message from McCarthy in his phone:

Sorry to hear it was a lot worse than expected. Keep the chin up and you’ll be back before you know it.

I just remember looking at my phone, listening to the message again and again. I was still under the influence of the anaesthetic and wasn’t quite sure what was happening.

After three sleepless nights Ward went back to the hospital to have a check on his knee. It was an infection and a big set-back.

I was getting blood tests every day. And I was constantly on a drip and a high dose of medication so it was making me quite depressed. It was a hard time, but I got through it.

After just three games of last season Stephen Ward found himself playing in the for him unusual position of left back. He had moved from being striker to the wing and now he was a defender.

I got my head around the left back thing from the start really. Every day in training I was learning something new, I enjoyed seeing a new part of the game. I was never quite an out-and-out striker at Bohs, I was left side or behind the front two and it was probably only for the Irish U-21s that I was in that role. To move back was obviously a bit of a culture shock, but I liked the challenge.

I ended up watching a lot of football and tended to look at how full-backs play rather than be interested in who was winning. You’d look at the people at the top of the game, a lot of Patrice Evra and Ashley Cole and just watch how they went about things.

The centre-halves at Wolves were a big help as well because there’s some good talkers at the club and I needed that. And with the gaffer being a defender himself, then it helped. If he wants to show you something he’ll take you outside on your own and coach you through it and all those factors really helped. To be honest, I probably feel more comfortable playing there now than any other position.

Stephen has now won over most of the supporters of Wolves. But he was not popular with the Wolves fans at first. They accused McCarthy to pick him, not by merits from the pitch, but by favouring a fellow Irishman. Stephen Elliott and Andy Keogh had the same treatment by some of the Molineux faithful

To be fair, it was difficult for Stephen then because it didn’t help that we’d bought Freddy Eastwood whom the fans were calling for. I think the whole team got the brunt of it at that time, it wasn’t just the Irish players and the core of the Irish players that he brought in are still there. One or two have moved on, but I think we’ve done well and the fans appreciate it.

I think I have improved. Obviously, I’m sure that last season when I went in at left-back, a lot of fans would have preferred to see a natural in that position. But I hope now that I’ve done well enough to win them over; that they see me as left-back rather than someone who is filling in.

Stephen Ward joined the club at the same time as Andy Keogh and Michael Kightly and at the beginning they were inseparable and lived very close to one another. But now all have girlfriends and have moved. Stephen himself is about to move to a house half an hour from Wolverhampton.

We might as well have lived together. Our apartments were close together and we spent all our time in Kites. We ate together every night and there were times we’d come home from training and Kites would go to bed and myself and Andy would sleep on the couch instead of going home because we knew that’s where we’d be sleeping that night. When I first came over, that was a big help, it settled me.

Stephen Ward has a special relation to Manchester United. When a young lad his father took him to see them play, as he was a United supporter. When he came to England he got tickets to United games from Darron Gibson and together with Keogh and Kightly he has watched some Champions League matches at Old Trafford.

I’ve been blown away by the place. So to play there would be brilliant. A dream come true.

Well. I sure hope you want get blown away tomorrow, Stephen!

I think we, as supporters, must be more patient with the players. Stephen Ward has shown us that a duck really can turn into a swan and together with his evidence about how hard they took the fans accusations, it will hopefully get some of the more inpatient and shortsighted among us to think twice before opening their mouths booing.

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~ by paddytheflea on December 14, 2009.

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