New Blue Bullard feels young again
THE love affair is back on – and this time Jimmy Bullard says it will last.
So adored by Ipswich Town fans following his superb loan spell at the club at the end of last season, the cult midfielder signed a two-year deal at the club yesterday after making clear this was the only place he wanted to be. His charismatic persona and creative play will undoubtedly provide a massive boost, both on and off the pitch, following a nightmare run of results for Paul Jewell’s confidence-rocked side.
However, aged 32 and on what will still surely be sizeable wages, some have voiced concerns that he has missed a fair chunk of football with injuries throughout his career.
The infectiously enthusiastic Bullard promises that, not only does he behave like a big kid at times, but that he also has the fitness of one too.
“I feel like I’ve got plenty of years in me,” said the affable Londoner, who admits he is still talking to a lawyer after Hull City terminated his contract over a ‘breach of discipline’.
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“I haven’t played a great deal of football in recent years, my muscles and bones haven’t got a lot of wear and tear. I didn’t really start playing professional football until I was 22 so in football terms my age is still young.”
The playmaker, who has snapped up his lucky No. 21 as a shirt number, added: “I’m a late developer, a very late developer. Look at (Wayne) Rooney – at 18 he was a man. I wasn’t. When I was 21 I was like a 17-year-old still in terms of my body. Even now there’s not a lot of weight on me.
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“At 32 I feel as fit and as strong as ever. I feel like I’m 25, 26 years old in football terms.”
Reclusive Blues owner Marcus Evans jetted into Suffolk on Tuesday to personally negotiate the coup of midfielder Bullard, who was reportedly drawing interest from a number Premier League clubs. He was also able to seal the deals which have seen centre-back Ibrahima Sonko (free agent) and winger/striker Daryl Murphy (season-long loan from Celtic) arrive in time for tomorrow’s Championship visit of Leeds United.