Belfast Telegraph

Tale of the tape has helped revitalise my season: Washington

By Graham Luney

Conor Washington is playing with a smile on his face again and he's revealed that a special motivational trick from Queens Park Rangers boss Ian Holloway has put a spring in his step.

The frontman's confidence took a battering after the Euro 2016 finals as he failed to see eye to eye with previous managerJimmy Floyd Hasselbaink but under Holloway he's flying again and hoping to bring that devastating form into Northern Ireland's crucial World Cup qualifier against Norway at Windsor Park on Sunday night.

From being the main man at Peterborough to losing his direction with the Hoops, the 24-year-old needed some inspiration and it was Holloway who felt that some feel-good footage would have him banging in the goals again.

"It was a really tough time to be honest," admitted Washington, reflecting on his post summer blues.

"Going from playing and scoring and being the main man at Peterborough and coming to QPR and having a few disagreements with the manager and not really understanding how he wanted me to play, his style of play. It was really tough. It was an even bigger comedown coming off the summer.

"The manager thought that watching videos of my goals would help.

"It was one of the first things he said to me, 'Nothing's changed, you've just lost that little bit of confidence'.

"I totally agreed with him. Little things like that have really helped me. He got the video guys to put together something, it wasn't that long - like 10 minutes of video, with the celebration as well! It's nice to look back and see what you've done and achieved.

"It wasn't so much watching those goals, it was what those goals meant, especially the ones against Slovenia and Belarus, they were really important in terms of the bigger picture and getting into the squad.

"Goals like that, especially when I was on a good run at Peterborough, it meant I was going to get the move to QPR.

"It was really important and reminded me, okay, I am good enough to play at this level. Every goal I've scored over the past 12, 15 months was on there."

A film on Washington's career would also make interesting viewing.

Around four-and-a-half-years ago, he was a postman and part-time striker for St Ives Town in the United Counties League, the ninth tier of English football.

After scoring a remarkable 52 goals in 50 games, he joined Newport County in 2012 and then Peterborough at the start of 2014.

The QPR adventure, which started in January last year, has been a roller-coaster ride but now it's a case of onwards and upwards for club and country as the Kent-born goal-getter aims to fire Northern Ireland to back to back major tournaments.

"I've been on a good run personally," he added.

"I'm feeling good, sharp, it's probably the first time in a while I'm coming into an international break having played quite a bit of football.

"You'd probably say Germany are going to win the group realistically barring some massive crash from them so second place is where we want to be. We're exactly where we want to be."

Belfast Telegraph


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