Red Devils proved good influence in King’s choice of club

Josh King
Josh King
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Norwegian striker Josh King had a host of clubs interested in taking him on loan after he ended a nightmare spell in Germany. He tells Richard Sutcliffe how he has settled to life with Hull City.

WHEN Josh King swapped Manchester United reserves for Borussia Monchengladbach last summer, it seemed an excellent move for a player keen to prove his worth at Old Trafford.

The German side were talking boldly about their ambitions for this season after a disappointing 2010-11 that had seen the club only avoid relegation via a play-off victory over Vfl Bochum.

Before agreeing to sign a season-long loan deal, King was told by the club’s sporting director Max Erbl that he was seen as a key part of those attempts to improve on the previous term’s woeful performance.

The 20-year-old Norwegian – now part of Hull City’s Premier League push – discovered that promise was an empty one on his arrival in Germany.

“I was promised this and that but when I got there the manager (Lucien Favre) didn’t even know me,” says the Tigers loanee ahead of this weekend’s trip to Leicester.

“It meant the the first half of this season was a nightmare for me. I realised quickly that he (Favre) didn’t want me there. I couldn’t get in the team and I lost all my confidence.

“It was all politics. He (Erbl) wanted to sign me but the manager had his team already. To be fair to him, they are third in Bundesliga and doing well.

“But I had to think of myself. It was a year-long loan and I had gone there to play. So, it was agreed I could come back.”

King managed just 20 minutes of Bundesliga action before calling time on his German nightmare in January. Hull, who have formed a fruitful alliance with Manchester United in recent years, had tried to sign the speedy forward during the summer so were immediately interested.

The problem for Nick Barmby was that a host of other clubs were also keen, King’s three-month stay at Preston North End last season having alerted the Championship to his abilities.

Hull, however, had a trump card to play – the host of Old Trafford youngsters who have made the move to the East Riding over the previous 18 months.

“There were a few clubs I could have gone to,” explains King. “But I liked the idea of joining the lads I already knew from Manchester United.

“Hull had asked me at the start of the season and the United lads made it easy for me.

“Joe (Dudgeon), Robbie (Brady), James Chester, Cameron (Stewart) and Corry Evans were all here. A lot of them have been sold to Hull in the last year, in fact all apart from me and Robbie.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if one of us gets sold, too.”

The latter comment will no doubt have Hull fans hoping King can follow the quartet of one-time Old Trafford players in securing a permanent move to the KC Stadium.

Certainly, the Norwegian, spotted by United when he attended a football school held by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, was the outstanding player in Tuesday night’s 2-0 defeat at home to Southampton.

Not only did King bring three fine saves from Saints goalkeeper Kelvin Davis but he also clipped the crossbar with a ferocious shot during a hugely entertaining first half in which Hull tested the leaders to the limit.

The defeat, which ended an 11-game unbeaten run for Barmby’s men, saw Hull slip two places to ninth.

King said: “It is always disappointing when you lose a game but I thought we could take things from the night. We never gave up and kept going. Southampton are the leaders so we cannot be too upset.”

Shock defeats for Leeds United and Birmingham City undoubtedly helped the Tigers, as did Middlesbrough being held to a point at West Ham United.

So limited was the damage, in fact, that victory this weekend against former Hull boss Nigel Pearson’s Foxes could see the Tigers return to the top six.

King said: “This month has been quite intense with a game every Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday.

“I am even feeling it, I haven’t played three games in a week for a long time.

“But we need to focus on our recovery and be ready to play at Leicester City and then Portsmouth.

“They will be tough games and, hopefully, six points will get us back up the league.”