Burnley 3 Sunderland 1: I'll prove Harry was wrong, says Nugent
21 September 2009 02:56
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When Harry Redknapp sees David Nugent at White Hart Lane on Saturday, he could be forgiven for asking his old striker for proof of identity.
Because the David Nugent who announced his re-emergence with two quite exquisite goals on home debut for Burnley was not the same David Nugent who left Harry looking a little foolish for paying £6m to take him from Preston to Portsmouth two years ago.
The Liverpudlian, 24, will claim that he was often played out of position wide on the right at Fratton Park instead of his favoured position as a striker. Often left on the bench or out of the squad altogether.
But he also admits that he fell out of love with football on the South Coast as the solitary England cap he earned while at Preston - memorable only for a tap-in on the line against Andorra in 2007 - became a weight around his neck.
Judging by the way he shot down Sunderland at Turf Moor, a loan move back to the north-west on deadline day seems to be working wonders for his confidence, and Nugent is not ruling out a return to the England squad in future.
'I don't see why not,' he said.
'I've been there before so I don't see why I can't get there again. Ever since I got that England cap it's been downhill but hopefully now I can rekindle my career at Burnley and try and get back in the fold.
Spot on: Graham Alexander converts his penalty to send Burnley into the lead
'I want to show Portsmouth fans and the people down there what they've been missing. Maybe they might be a little bit gutted that they let me go.
'It's been so frustrating. I'm paid to play football and I was not getting that at Portsmouth so I thought it was time to move away and get my confidence back up and start enjoying my football again.
'I'd love to make the move to Burnley permanent because I've been in this area before with Preston and they were good times.
'I played the odd game up front for Portsmouth, which I scored goals in, but all of I sudden I'd be back on the wing and I'm not a winger.
'As I showed today, I'm an out-and-out striker. Give me chances and I'll put them away.'
Nugent came off the bench to transform the game after Darren Bent had cancelled out Graham Alexander's opener from the penalty spot.
His first goal was an emphatic header to finish off a wonderful Burnley move, the second a curling left-foot shot into the top corner that exuded confidence. You could almost picture Redknapp at home rubbing his eyes in disbelief.
Burnley go to Tottenham on Saturday after becoming the first promoted side to open the Premier League season with three home wins, but Nugent insists there are no scores to settle with his old Pompey boss.
'I've got no qualms with Harry Redknapp,' he said.
'He didn't fancy me as a player and that's it. Hopefully I can prove another manager wrong, go to Tottenham and score more goals.
'I realised he didn't rate me after about three months. It was the players that he brought in as well. He was buying strikers - Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, John Utaka. I was trying my best in training but it wasn't good enough.'
Back of the net: Nugent caps an impressive home debut with a stunning second
Nugent has already made a point to Redknapp, scoring for Portsmouth in a 1-1 draw at Tottenham in January. That was the night the Spurs boss famously accused Bent of wasting a chance 'my missus could have scored'.
BURNLEY (4-5-1): Jensen 6; Mears 7, Carlisle 6, Bikey 6, Jordan 6; Fletcher 5 (Eagles 64min, 7), Elliott 7, Alexander 6, McCann 6 (Gudjonsson 27, 6), Blake 7; Paterson 5 (Nugent 57, 8).
SUNDERLAND (4-4-2): Gordon 6; Bardsley 5, Ferdinand 4, Turner 5, McCartney 6; Malbranque 6 (Jones 61, 6), Richardson 6, Cana 6, Reid 7; Campbell 5 (Henderson 76) Bent 7. Booked: Turner, Bardsley, Richardson.
Man of the match: David Nugent.
Referee: Chris Foy.
Bent, like Nugent, has benefited by moving on. Saturday's equaliser was his fifth goal since leaving Spurs for Sunderland in the summer, although it was little consolation for Steve Bruce after his side fell away in the second half.
He said: 'Darren's had a wonderful start but we can't just keep relying on him to score a goal. Somebody else has got to come to the party.
'If we're going to be big club we must have big-club mentality and come to places like this and get the result. The ugly side of us is still there. Maybe we're too easy to play against at times.'