Tyrese Campbell says he is targeting at least breaking into double figures this season – and doesn’t mind if he has to start that by playing on the wing.
The 20-year-old forward is heading into what should be his first full campaign as a regular at Stoke City, having really broken into the team when he seized a chance given to him by Michael O’Neill at the turn of the year.
He ended up with nine goals in 18 starts and 15 sub outings – or a goal every 173 minutes, the 10th most frequent return in the Championship.
That included four goals in seven run outs on the wing and Michael O’Neill has suggested that, for the moment, his best position might be wide or in a front two rather than dealing with the battering required by a lone centre forward.
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Campbell said: “As a striker I know what I can do and know the ability I’ve got. I want ideally to be pushing for double figures in goals at least.
“I was happy with what I produced after the manager gave me the chance but it’s time for me to push on, better myself and show the fans, team and manager even more of my ability and what I can do.”
He added in an interview with Radio Stoke’s Matt Sandoz: “I’m happy to play anywhere across the front three as long as I’m playing and getting experience. I think it can’t harm my progression and growth playing as a winger – on the right, especially, when I have the option to cut in on my left and shoot.
“I’m definitely enjoying that position but obviously I’m a striker and I would like to play as a striker. If I’ve got to play my way into the team through the right, I’m more than happy to do that.”
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Campbell is hoping for a much better season as a collective as well as an individual.
“I don’t think any team wants to be in the position we were in last year,” he said. “We were relieved more than anything to stay up. We were always confident we would but when that was secured it was obviously a relief to everyone. No one wanted to be in that position.
“This season, we know we’re better than that and we want to give a better account of ourselves, to push on challenging for the top spots rather than battling against relegation.”
Steven Fletcher is one of the few players (who made more than 20 appearances in the Championship in 2019/20) to score more frequently than Campbell.
The Championship’s most frequent scorers 2019/20
1 Danny Ward (Cardiff, one goal every 132.7 minutes on the pitch), 2 Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham, 138.1), 3 Patrick Schmidt (Barnsley, 138.7), 4 Lyle Taylor (Charlton, 145.8), 5 Matt Smith (Millwall, 148.7), 6 Charlie Austin (West Brom, 151.3), 7 Steven Fletcher (Sheffield Wednesday, 155.9), 8 Nahki Wells (QPR/Bristol City, 156.1), 9 Ollie Watkins (Brentford, 165.2), 10 Tyrese Campbell (Stoke, 172.9).