Charlton winger playing with a smile on his face once again
12:14 28 March 2012
Wagstaff opens up about overcoming his case of the blues
Normally as energetic off the pitch as he is on it, Scott Wagstaff is not the type of character to allow himself to wallow easily.
Yet, for the first time in his professional career, he began to walk around the Sparrows Lane training ground with his head down earlier this season.
While his team-mates celebrated a 1-0 victory away at Sheffield Wednesday on January 14 which cemented their position at the top of the league, for Wagstaff the gloss had ever so slightly been taken off.
Nearly 27,000 fans were at Hillsborough that day and all had as much chance as influencing the outcome as the 21-year-old youth team product – who was not named in the matchday squad.
“I was devastated and I haven’t had that feeling for a long time,” said Wagstaff, who had been usurped as number one choice on the right of midfield by summer signing Danny Green.
“I was moping about the place, but then I thought to myself how I’ve got a lot of good people around me, such as my family, and they kept me going.
“A lot of the boys like Andy Hughes and John Sullivan kept me going and have been excellent towards me. They made sure I kept my head up.
“There’s no point in moping about because you are not going to get anything from it.
“I was putting the time in during training and doing extras after it, but I’ve got to be enjoying my training and that is what I have been doing again.”
His tale is a testament to Chris Powell’s recruitment policy of signing good people as well as good players, with Hughes being able to call upon his wealth of experience and offer Wagstaff advice.
When Green signed for an undisclosed fee, believed to have been in excess of £250,000, in the summer, Wagstaff knew he had a battle on his hands.
He responded in kind with a stunning long-range goal on the opening day of the season and a string of tireless displays up and down the right.
Green’s impressive cameos off the bench soon saw him nab the starting berth and, with Wagstaff having been replaced on the bench by the likes of Leon Clarke in recent times, some fans questioned his future at The Valley.
Back in the side following a shoulder injury to Green, Wagstaff impressed against Yeovil and Huddersfield, but knows he can’t afford to let his focus slip.
“I’ve always got a point to prove,” he said.
“If I’m not playing then obviously I want to prove that I should be starting, but it’s down to the gaffer. I’ve just got to keep showing him that I want to be playing and I want to be in his plans.
“I work my socks off in training and in the games, when I get my chance, I’ll always give 100 per cent.
“Hopefully the gaffer has seen that and I can cement a place now in the team.”
His stock has risen to the point where it was Green who was omitted from the matchday squad against Huddersfield on Saturday.
With seven matches remaining in the campaign, Wagstaff insists he has only one aim – to help the team achieve their collective goal of promotion.
“If the gaffer doesn’t feel I’m the right person to play on the right wing on a Saturday that’s up to him, but I’ve done as much as I can to prove to him I want to be playing,” he added.
“It’s down to the gaffer and hopefully we can keep getting good results – that’s the main thing for us all. We all want to go in one direction and that’s up to the Championship. Hopefully we can keep moving forward.”