PAUL Smyth has spoken of his joy at being back at Harlington ahead of what he’s defined as a ‘massive year’.
The 20-year-old burst onto the scene last season after scoring on his league debut against Cardiff City on New Years’ Day.
Smyth went on to make 14 appearances for the R’s and his impressive performances led to him being crowned Young Player of the Year and winning a cap for his beloved Northern Ireland.
The forward now hopes he can kick on this season, albeit under a new manager. Speaking to www.qpr.co.uk he admitted: “It’s a massive year, I didn’t have a full year last season so this will be my first and it’s up to me to make good impressions and hopefully do well.
“I haven’t been in a full-time academy as much as some of the lads have. It’s something I relish, I love being here and I can’t wait for the season to get started.”
With the early days of pre-season all about building up fitness, Smyth took it on him to make sure he was in shape before the official return at the start of this week.
A regular at Harlington during the close season, Smyth reaped the rewards of his hard work by winning the bleep test in his particular group.
“Fitness-wise when I first came to QPR I didn’t really think I was going to be up to the standard," he admitted. "So over the summer, I thought I would need to come in before the boys and do a bit of cheating!"
Smyth is now determined to impress new manager Steve McClaren.
“It will be good for me learning-wise because he’s been there and done it. He’s been England manager, he’s been at Manchester United so it will be different but it’s something I’m ready for.
“I’m keen to get started and see what he’s got on the table. I’m looking forward to learning a few things and seeing what coaching drills he has for me!"
For Smyth, this season is all about developing and progression. He’s not yet set any targets but hopes the hard work and dedication he’s so far put into his career will pay off.
“For me, it’s just keeping my head down and working as hard as I can" he added. "It’s about trying to score as many goals as I can or even assisting because it’s a team game at the end of the day. It’s a team game that I love playing.
“I have not thought too much about my targets, just about getting a good pre-season and once the league kicks in I’m sure I’ll have a few targets to work towards.”