Conor Washington hopeful of landing first-team spot at QPR

PUBLISHED: 12:50 18 June 2016 | UPDATED: 12:50 18 June 2016

Washington (right), in action for Northern Ireland against Belarus last month, has impressed for his country so far at Euro 2016. (Pic: PA)

Washington (right), in action for Northern Ireland against Belarus last month, has impressed for his country so far at Euro 2016. (Pic: PA)

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Conor Washington believes having a productive tournament at Euro 2016 will send a strong signal of intent to QPR boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink ahead of the new league campaign.

The 24-year-old striker, who has impressed for his country in their opening two group games in France, has failed to find the net for the Rs since joining from Peterborough for £3million in January.

However, the former St Ives Town striker, who was working as a postman during the last European Championship, is confident of landing a first-team spot at Loftus Road this year.

Speaking exclusively to the Times he said: “It’s every footballer’s dream to test yourself against the best players in the world, so this (the Euros) is the perfect stage to do just that.

“I’m determined to prove to people that I belong at this level, and hopefully that will give me a big boost ahead of the new season at QPR.”

He continued: “I had a chat with the manager after the season finished and expressed my disappointment that after having a run of games in a row towards the end of the season that got broken up, just as I was getting some momentum.

“He assured me I have a big part to play in his plans, but that it [last season] was a rebuilding stage, so he wanted to mix around with the squad as much as he could, ahead of what is sure to be a busy summer at QPR.

“Hopefully I’ll get that chance next season to show what I’m all about, because I know I am more than capable to score goals at this level [the Championship].”

Washington believes the Rs should be aiming for a top six spot as a minimum target next season, after a frustrating year for all concerned at the club in the 2015/16 campaign.

He added: “QPR’s a massive club and everyone connected with the club, especially the fans, want to see the team back in the Premier League.

“That’s where we feel we belong, so the play-offs should be something we should be looking to achieve at the very least next season.

“I just want to get my first goal and get a run of games under my belt and who knows where that could take me and the team. I’m positive about the future at QPR.”

While Washington has yet to score for Rangers, he says he hasn’t felt the pressure put on him by outside influences, after being labelled a direct replacement for Charlie Austin – who left to join Southampton in January.

“There was a lot of pressure put on me, but from within myself I didn’t really feel that to be honest with you,” said Washington.

“Obviously the way it worked out where Charlie was sold and I came in not long after, it looked as though I was a straight replacement for him.

“It probably only took people a couple of games to realise that I’m nothing like the type of player he is.

“We’ve got very different qualities. I know I’ve got the pace to get in behind defences and run the channels, whereas Charlie is a real fox in the box and one of the most clinical strikers around in that respect.

“Obviously he left a big gap in terms of goals, and hopefully I can fill a large proportion of that, with the help of the other strikers at the club, next season. I can’t wait to get going again now.”

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