ROB GREEN is eyeing an extended stay at Leeds United despite signing just a one year deal.
The former England goalkeeper moved north to Elland Road earlier this month and is expected to start the campaign as the club’s first choice goalkeeper ahead of Marco Silvestri.
At 36 years old, Green fits comfortably into the ‘veteran’ category, but the Londoner – who plans to move his wife and two children to Yorkshire in the next couple of weeks – is adamant that there are plenty of good years left in him yet.
“I want to play and I want to play as many games as I can,” said Green to The Yorkshire Post yesterday in the gap between the double training session that manager Garry Monk put his players through at the club’s Thorp Arch training base.
“I want to look back one day and say that I had 10 great years at Norwich, six great years at West Ham, four great years at QPR and x-amount of great years at Leeds.
“I want that to be up there with all of that in terms of longevity and success. It is not like I am here to sit back, relax and chill. I could have done that by staying in London, and sat on the bench somewhere.
“But I have come here to be part of something, something exciting. Put it this way, I have not come here not to play.”
Green endured a frustrating second half of last season after being frozen out at Queens Park Rangers.
His omission was down to a clause in his Loftus Road contract, which stipulated that 30 appearances would trigger a 12-month extension.
Having played 25 times by New Year’s Day, Green was promptly dropped by new R’s manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
A move to Crystal Palace was mooted during the January transfer window, but agreement could not be reached, meaning the former Norwich and West Ham goalkeeper had no option but to sit out the rest of the season.
At any age, such an enforced absence would be frustrating never mind to a player whose senior debut had come before the turn of the Millennium.
“I am looking forward to getting on the pitch,” admitted Green, who has more than 600 senior appearances to his name. “It has been a while.
“I feel as good as ever, Certainly physically, I feel better than ever. But you have got to prove that is the case and I will do that.
“Football has changed. It is such a high turnover of players and attitudes, everything changes so quickly. Six months out of the game or not playing and people start asking questions. You have got to perform at your highest level all the time.”
Thanks to a quirk of fate, the type of which football delights in, Green’s competitive debut for Leeds is likely to come on the opening weekend against the club he has just left.
United head to Loftus Road on Sunday, August 7 for a lunchtime kick-off that will be shown live by Sky Television.
It is the first of five fixtures in August against former Premier League clubs, underlining just how competitive the second tier is likely to be in a season when relegated trio Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Norwich City are all expected to do well.
For Leeds, an improvement on the mid-table mediocrity that has characterised the past five seasons is paramount and Green insists his new team-mates are ready for that challenge.
“The beauty of what we have got here is that it is an open book,” added the Leeds goalkeeper.
“That is the exciting thing, and when the young lads realise that, it will excite them as much as it does me.
“You are competing against clubs who have come out of the Premier League, but you soon realise that you can compete.
“There is no given rule in the Championship. There is no reason why anyone can’t have a successful season.”
With that in mind, Green is asked how he expects the season to develop at Elland Road.
“I think to make predictions in that respect would mean I would just make an ar*e of myself,” laughed the wily veteran.
United, meanwhile, have opened talks with Alex Mowatt’s representatives over a possible extension to his contract.
Initial discussions took place last week and a further meeting is planned in the near future. Mowatt, who is into the final year of his existing deal, made 36 appearances for Leeds last season.
Elsewhere in the Championship, Sheffield Wednesday are understood to be closing in on Watford midfielder Almen Abdi.
The 29-year-old is a popular figure at Vicarage Road after joining, initially on loan, from Udinese in 2012, but has dropped down the pecking order at the Premier League club.
Albanian-born Swiss international Abdi, who made 38 appearances last season, is expected to have a medical in South Yorkshire. Sources in Hertfordshire have indicated that Wednesday are also edging closer to a deal for Daniel Pudil after his impressive loan stay at Hillsborough last term.