BRIAN SCIARETTA - Wednesday, September 28, 2011
After an injury plagued beginning to his Nottingham Forest career, Robbie Findley is now healthy and will be aiming to provide a boost a club that is off to a slow start in the English Championship.
Findley has already enjoyed a strong September and has scored four goals in his last 10 games with three of the goals coming in the League Cup. His most recent goal came in a cup game against Newcastle United where he hit a terrific long range shot from 25 yards past Newcastle keeper Robert Elliot.
"I feel sharp," Findley told YA from England. "When I first moved over here, I had that injury and it kept me out a while. That was tough for me to get my mind through that. But I was able to come into preseason healthy. I feel really confident right now."
Findley joined Nottingham Forest from Real Salt Lake during the 2011 January transfer window but suffered a thigh injury in one of his first practices which limited him to just two appearances towards the end of the season.
Findley admits that it was a difficult period in his career.
"When you get an injury that puts you out that long, you it's a challenge," Findley recalled. "Maybe it doesn't hit you for a week or two but after awhile you realize you aren't participating with the team. It's tough but it is what it is. All you can do is rehab and make yourself stronger."
After the offseason, Finldey returned healthy to Nottingham Forest but he found himself at a club that was in the process of major changes. Steve McClaren was hired to replace Billy Davies as head coach and player turnover was high during the summer transfer window.
Findley was unaware of what to expect under McClaren but he remains confident that the team will eventually find their way under the former head coach of the English national team.
"The new manager that wasn't the one who signed me but I came in open minded and ready to learn," Findley stated. "The coaching staff has a lot of experience and they know what they are doing. It really now just comes down to us players buying into what they want to do. I think once you have that, we will have a tough team to beat. It will only get better from here. "
Nottingham Forest have only earned eight points through their first nine games which has them sitting in 20th place in the 24 team league. Still, the standings remain tight in the Championship with just six points separating them from sixth place.
In the two previous seasons, Nottingham Forest qualified for the promotional playoffs but came up short each time. Despite the current standings in the early part of the season Findley believes the team can turn it around and push for the playoffs again.
"For me I think we can get back to where we were the year before and push for the playoffs," Findley analyzed. "Of course you want to be winning but teams go through slumps. It's just a matter of sticking together and finding out what you can do better to fix it. With the games we've had recently - they've all been tough games. I don't think it's going to get any easier either with the position that we're in. It's going to be tough but the guys are up for the challenge and I think we can do it."
Findley's impressive goal scoring this season has also seen him once again put himself into consideration for US national team. Findley made the 2010 World Cup team after Charlie Davies injured himself in a car accident and head coach Bob Bradley turned to Findley to provide speed at the forward position.
Findley inclusion on the World Cup team was surprising to many people as he did not play for the US at all during qualifying and never scored at the international level or at any professional level other than MLS.
Findley played in three of the four games for the US at the World Cup but he, along with fellow forwards Jozy Altidore, Herculez Gomez, and Edson Buddle failed produce a goal.
Findley's last appearance for the US came last November in a friendly against South Africa. He is still looking for his first international goal for the United States but he is hopeful that his solid play at Nottingham Forest will get him another chance at the US national team.
Playing for the US team is an opportunity that Findley cherishes and as the US team begins a new era under head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, Findley wants to be part of his plans.
"It's going to come down to me performing again and doing the same things I did to get myself on the team in the first place - scoring goals, being dangerous , and just playing my game," Findley explained. "Hopefully if I do all those things, I'll get another look on the national team."
"I work hard every day at training and that's why I play the game. To be able to represent your country is something that not a lot of people get to do. To be to do that feels good and it's an honor. Anytime I can get back there would be great."