Leeds United: Goalkeeper Green determined to be No. 1

Rob Green
Rob Green
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Rob Green has vowed to take a firm grip of the goalkeeper’s shirt at Leeds United – and says he wants his time time at Elland Road to be as memorable as every other stage of his career.

Rob Green has vowed to take a firm grip of the goalkeeper’s shirt at Leeds United – and says he wants his time time at Elland Road to be as memorable as every other stage of his career.

The 36-year-old said he had not signed for Leeds with a plan to “sit back, relax and chill” as he looked ahead to the start of the Championship season away at his old club Queens Park Rangers.

Green left QPR at the end of his contract in May and was signed by Leeds head coach Garry Monk on a 12-month deal in the early stages of pre-season.

Monk wanted a British number one to replace Marco Silvestri at Elland Road and Green is in line to begin the new campaign ahead of the Italian, Ross Turnbull and Bailey Peacock-Farrell. The former England international has amassed more than 600 appearances during a career which has taken him from Norwich City to West Ham United and on to both QPR and Leeds.

He has not featured in a competitive game since New Year’s Day, however, owing to a clause in his QPR deal which promised him an appearance-related extension and saw him sidelined by manager Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink during the second half of last term.

Leeds kick off their Championship campaign at Loftus Road a week on Sunday and Green said: “I’m looking forward to getting out on the pitch. It’s been a while.

“I’ve not come here not to play. I want to play and I want to play as many games as I can. I want to look back one

day and say that I had 10 great years at Norwich, six great years at West Ham, four great years at QPR and X-amount of great years at Leeds.

“I want this to be up there with all of that in terms of longevity and success. It’s not like I’m here to sit back, relax and chill. I could have done that by staying in London, sat on the bench somewhere, but I’ve come here to be part of something - something exciting.”

Green is 20 years on from turning professional at Norwich and he celebrated his 36th birthday in January, making him the oldest member of the first-team squad at Leeds.

“I feel as good as ever,” he said. “Physically I feel better than ever. But you’ve got to prove that you are and football’s changed.

“There’s such a high turnover of players and attitudes now. Everything changes so quickly. Six months out of the game or not playing and people start asking questions. You’ve got to perform at your highest level all the time.”

Monk is managing a young squad at Leeds and the majority of his six signings have been players in the early stages of their careers.

Green, who won the Championship play-off final with West Ham in 2012 and again with QPR two years later, said Leeds should be excited about their prospects - but refused to predict how Monk’s squad would fare in the league.

“The beauty of what we’ve got here is that it’s an open book,” he said. “That’s the exciting thing. And when the young lads realise that, it’ll dawn on them as well.

“You’re competing against clubs who’ve come out the Premier League but you’ll realise that you can compete and you will compete. There’s no given rule in the Championship. There’s no reason why anyone can’t have a successful season. But I think to make predictions in that respect would mean I’d just make an a*** of myself.”

Leeds United fans show their willingness to show a sense of togetherness before Sunday's game against Middlesbrough. 
Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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