Unsworth ready to star
DAVID Unsworth is happy to have left the soap opera that Portsmouth has become and is looking to star in the Ipswich Town promotion show.The on-loan defender will make his Blues debut at Sheffield United tomorrow just happy to be playing a walk-on role for Town after it was made obvious to him that his future no longer lay at Fratton Park.
By Derek Davis
DAVID Unsworth is happy to have left the soap opera that Portsmouth has become and is looking to star in the Ipswich Town promotion show.
The on-loan defender will make his Blues debut at Sheffield United tomorrow just happy to be playing a walk-on role for Town after it was made obvious to him that his future no longer lay at Fratton Park.
Unsworth said: “The move came out of the blue early last week, when my agent said the two chairmen had agreed a loan move, and that took me by surprise because my opinions were not sought at all.
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“That spoke volumes for me about what was happening at Portsmouth and I left immediately.”
Along with many of the other Pompey players, Unsworth was unhappy at what was happening on the south coast after Harry Redknapp's acrimonious departure, and is delighted to have been given the chance to link up with old friends once more.
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He said: “It has been like a soap opera since Harry left, so it is great to come to a settled club.
“A few of the senior players were a little outspoken when Harry left, because we were eighth in the Premiership and in the quarter-finals of the League Cup, and we could not understand why he left.
“When a new manager comes in, he always brings in his own players and it is no secret that a foreign coach will bring in foreign players.
“I was injured when the new man came in, so it was a difficult month for me.”
Unsworth won an FA Cup winners' medal under Town boss Joe Royle, and an England cap, and, added to the opportunity of first-team football, Unsworth made the move.
He said: “The club is top of the league, if they were struggling it may have been different. The chance to work with Joe and Willie (Donachie) again and, if you put all the ingredients together, it is the right decision for me.
“Joe makes you feel at ease and is very knowledgeable about the game. Willie's training is fantastic.
“I have trained with the lads here now and the training is exactly the same as we were doing at Everton, when we were successful there.
“Neither have really changed in the 10 years, Willie's training is just as intense and Joe's jokes are just as bad as they ever were.”
Although Unsworth has made more than 350 Premiership appearances, he has never faced Sheffield United before and is looking forward to his first-ever Football League game.
He said: “The concept of football is the same no matter what league you are in and you have to earn the right to play football.
“I had no concerns about dropping down a division, especially with Ipswich flying high at the top of the league.
“Sheffield have an old pal of mine in Danny Cadamarteri, and they have Michael Tonge, so I know they have quality players and it will be a tough game for us.”
The one-time England international gained his only full cap in a friendly against Japan in 1995, although he was twice included in the squad only to sit on the bench.
The Chorley-born left-footed player started life as a centre-forward but soon found himself drifting back into midfield and is also comfortable as a centre-back.
While he was at Everton the first time, Royle decided he would be best suited as a left-back and it was at Goodison Park where he was dubbed 'Rhino' by the fans for his propensity to charge forward with the ball at his feet. Working with Royle and Donachie again was another factor in him deciding to join Ipswich.
He has never lost the knack of scoring, with 44 career goals. Many have come from the penalty spot but he is not looking to take Tommy Miller's job from him.
Unsworth said: “I like to get forward to score and I like to take penalties but I won't step on anyone's toes. If I'm asked to take them, then I won't hesitate but it is Tommy's job.”
Arguably his best strike came with a scissors-kick against Aston Villa, the club he had joined from West Ham after just one season at Upton Park, but didn't settle and left for a return to Everton before kicking a ball in anger for a not-very-happy John Gregory.
Unsworth has twice before scored on his debut, for Everton first time round when he netted on his Toffees' bow as an 18-year-old against Spurs in April 1992.
At the beginning of this season, he slotted in a penalty for new club Portsmouth in their 1-1 draw against Birmingham.
It took a while before he found the net during his single season at West Ham but one in his first outing against the Blades would go down very well.