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Kanu's ready to give it his best shot

Posted by By Chris Lepkowski, Evening Mail on 2005/08/11 | Views: 410 |

Kanu's ready to give it his best shot


KANU believes Albion's 'Great Escape' is right up there with his 1995 Champions League winning medal with Ajax and his two league titles, two FA Cups and a UEFA Cup runners-up medal with Arsenal.

KANU believes Albion's 'Great Escape' is right up there with his 1995 Champions League winning medal with Ajax and his two league titles, two FA Cups and a UEFA Cup runners-up medal with Arsenal.

But the former Inter Milan ace has signalled his intent not to rest on his laurels and he wants to fire the Baggies up the Premiership during his second season to make sure they don't go through the tension of last May again.

The 29-year-old Nigerian may have scored only two league goals, but he has created a huge impression since his free transfer from the Gunners a year ago.

And it is his exploits with Albion that are now becoming the stuff of legend.

He revealed: "What happened last season compares to everything I have won because it was my first time.

"When you are top you don't really know what the people who are under you are going through.

"For me it was a good experience and a new one. At the end of that game, there were so many people on the pitch it looked as if we had won the Champions League.

"When I went back to Nigeria for the international games this summer, everyone was saying 'Congratulations' - so I knew they were following the team.

"There are a lot of fans in Nigeria who support the Baggies. They buy the shirts and they are very happy for me."

Kanu started only two games in the final dozen matches, but now he aims to break back into Bryan Robson's favour after an impressive pre-season.

"My first year did not go that well but it was not completely bad, either," he said.

"When you get a new trainer they have their own systems and own people. That doesn't bother me because I just have to do my best.

"When I came here I said I wanted to help the club and I wanted to do my best so that the club keeps on growing. I just want the fans to be happy.

"And now I am very happy that we stayed up and I believe everybody in the team is very happy. We survived and we were so relieved."

Kanu scored just three goals, against Fulham in September, Bolton in October and at Spurs in the FA Cup in January.

He admits Robson has demanded he ups that disappointing strike rate. He says: "I want to score goals - every striker does. The type of game I play is to create for others, but that doesn't mean I am not going to score if someone can also create for me.

"Bryan Robson has told me that he wants more goals but he says I do not have to give up what I know how to do, which is to get the team together." With five strikers fighting it out for just two positions, and with Albion pursuing an interest in Nathan Ellington of Wigan, Kanu insists he is confident he will play more of a leading role this season.

He says: "The fans haven't seen the best of me and if I get my chance and if we keep improving like we have been in pre-season, they will."

The Nigerian insists his incredible miss against Middlesbrough in Robson's first game in charge was quickly forgotten.

He says: "It was big news at the time but there was nothing I could do. Football is about things happening in seconds. If you score three goals in ten seconds everything changes."

With his family set to join him in the Midlands, The Hawthorns is going to become even more a home from home next year, but he admits he found the transition from London to the Second City initially a huge cultural shock.

"It wasn't easy, moving from London to Birmingham.

"I am much more settled now. I have my house in Birmingham and I know where to go and get my food and everything like that. "My future wasn't decided at the end of last season but now my wife and child are going to move in with me and that will make it even easier."

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