Chris David’s pre-season aim is clear – the Dutchman wants to establish himself as a key member of Felix Magath’s squad.
The young playmaker has impressed in his brief cameos to date, setting up the opening goal on his debut in an FA Cup tie at Norwich, and scoring on first league appearance on the final day of the 2013/14 season.
Having joined the Club in January 2013 from FC Twente, the 21-year-old has long been recognised as a player of genuine potential. He’s confident on the ball, has a good range of passing and can cause problems with his delivery from set-pieces.
Last term was bittersweet for the midfielder, his breakthrough campaign tempered by the team’s relegation. It was an experience he believes he will learn a lot from.
“It’s a strange one because while I will remember last season as the one when I made my debut,” explained Chris, “I will also remember the relegation – that was a sad time. Even though I didn’t play a lot, I was still part of the squad and trained alongside the players that did.
“As a team, you go through everything together – the good and the bad. I genuinely believe it will make us stronger, though. It was a different experience, but in football there will always be ups and downs.
“We have to show a positive reaction now, that’s something the Manager has really underlined. We have the faith and belief that we can get back to where we want to be.”
As the team opened their pre-season programme north of the border, David has been another that has impressed. Having scored an exquisite goal in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace, he appears to have picked up where he left off.
“I went to Costa Rica with the team last summer,” he said. “So this is my second pre-season with the First Team. I do feel more a part of things now, I suppose that happens when you get older.
“I’ve been at the Club for a little while now, and I’ve improved a lot as a player in that time. This summer, I feel a lot stronger and a lot fitter. It’s been really good, so I’m looking forward to getting the season started.
“The goal against Palace was good; it was a nice moment for me. I just wanted to show the fans what I could do, but there’s a lot more to come. I want to give everything I have to help the team back to the Premier League.“Sure, we have lost some players, but at the same time we have also gained some, too. The younger boys are a bit older and a bit wiser, it’s a good group that we have and I think we will do well.”
David has been quick to point to the influence of Felix Magath as he continues his development ahead of the new campaign. The Manager seems to be bringing the best out of the player.
“We have a good connection and he has been helping make me a better player,” added Chris. “The Manager gives me a lot of advice, whether that is after a session or a game, or sometimes during.
“I really appreciate that. He’s been in the game for a while and has worked with some big players. I can learn and develop as a result of that experience.
“The same applies for every player, though – it’s not just me. Felix Magath encourages creativity and that’s good for me, because I’m a player that likes to express myself and make things happen. In football, sometimes you have to take risks, and he recognises that.“I just want to keep on trying things and improving as a player. I like to think that I have something to offer out on the pitch and hopefully I can play my part this season.”