Smithies rivalry is improving my game, insists QPR goalkeeper
PUBLISHED: 10:25 28 April 2016
Matt Ingram has no qualms about playing second fiddle to Alex Smithies at QPR - insisting the competition is only making him a better goalkeeper.
The 22-year-old made only his second appearance for the club on Saturday, producing an impressive performance in a 1-1 draw with Reading.
And the former Wycombe Wanderers starlet, who joined the Rs in January, fully understands the dilemma Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has been in since the turn of the new year.
He told the Times: “Just like any professional I want to be out there every week, but Alex has been playing unbelievably well, so I can have no complaints and completely understand the gaffer’s decision.
“I’ve just had to bide my time, but I’ve been given an opportunity in the last few weeks to show what I’m all about and hopefully I have done that.
“I know I’m chasing Alex for the shirt at the moment, but that’s something we’re both enjoying doing, and we are getting the best out of each other.
“Goalies stick together, and I got a text from Alex saying ‘good luck’ [before Saturday] and Greeny (Robert Green) has been good to learn off as well: it’s the goalies’ union and we’re all good mates.”
Ingram has been tipped for Premier League stardom by his former Chairboys boss Gareth Ainsworth, and appreciates the role the former QPR favourite has played in his development.
He added: “He (Gareth) was the one that was brave enough to put me in as a 19-year-old and give me my debut, so I will always be grateful to him for that.
“He stuck with me throughout the three years after that, so I’ve got to thank him massively for that.
“As soon as QPR came up, he wasn’t pushing me away as such, but he was saying they’re a great family club and one where the fans will support you, so that’s where you should go next.
“I have fond memories of my time at Wycombe, and I’ll always go back there whenever I can in my spare time.”
Elsewhere, Ingram has admitted that he has needed time to adjust to life in England’s second tier after making the big step up from League Two.
“I’ve been here three months, and discovered that the Championship pace is a lot sharper, and also in training,” he said.
“Luckily, I wasn’t thrown straight in, but I’m up to speed now. When I missed out on promotion with Wycombe [last season] a move to a club like QPR seemed a million miles away.
“I’m just delighted to be here and I’m feeling really positive about the future and what it will bring.”