DAVID Wheeler admits he almost feels like a new signing this summer as he looks to put behind his ‘frustrating’ first season at QPR.
An ankle injury, and subsequent operation, in January brought his debut campaign in W12 to an abrupt end – restricting the 27-year-old to just nine appearances.
Now he is in Portugal on the R’s pre-season training camp determined to make up for lost time.
“It almost feels like I signed this summer,” Wheeler told www.qpr.co.uk. “When you spend so much time doing rehab in the physio room as I did, it doesn’t feel like you’re fully part of it. This feels like a proper start now.”
Looking back on last season, he said: “I was really frustrated. It was the least amount of games I’ve played in a season since the start of my career. It was really hard to take, having just moved to a new club and trying to make an impression.
“I’m anxious now to get going, get playing games and scoring goals. I’m really motivated for a good year on a personal and team level.”
Wheeler is part of the 28-man squad which flew out to Lagos for a week’s training as new boss Steve McClaren puts his troops through their paces.
The winger says it’s the perfect place for the side to prepare for the new campaign – both on and off the pitch.
“It’s really important for the amount of time we get to spend together,” he said. “Not just the football, but getting to know each other better.
“The facilities are incredible too – there’s a really good mix of everything you need to do your work, whether it be the training facilities, the gym, the pool, it also has the comfort as well. It’s a really good blend.”
28 became 29 on Sunday as defender Toni Leistner became McClaren’s first summer signing.
Leistner immediately jetted off to join his new team-mates, and Wheeler is pleased to report the German’s integration has been seamless.
“He’s settled in really well,” Wheeler said. “Like a lot of Europeans, his English is better than some of ours! That’s a big hurdle which makes it easy for everyone.
“He seems a really nice, modest guy so he’s settled in fine.”