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RICHARD WARD: Meet the new man who's 'key' to MFC's success

by Andy Donley

When MFC bounced back from their first defeat since early 2013 with a tense victory against Loughborough earlier this month, it was a new face restoring the familiar taste of success at the club.

Richard Ward has grown used to scoring important goals in the last couple of months, and he followed up his October heroics in an England shirt with a brace on his debut for his new club.

We caught up with the ex-Sheffield man to find out how he’s settling in at Manchester, and why he chose to make the trip across the Pennines.

And although ostensibly he was forced into the switch when he moved in with his Liverpudlian girlfriend, the pivot admitted that, given MFC’s recent success, it wasn’t a hard decision to make the switch to the reigning champions of the north.

“I can definitely see the Manchester brand, and I was aware of it before I joined,” Wardy admitted.

“Obviously in the north it's always been Manchester and Sheffield and I really respect the tradition that Manchester is creating and being a part of that is definitely a draw.

“Being involved in the club now you can see how much people care and how much they're pushing in the right direction. And it's only going to be good for the club and the sport in general.

“It's great to see that people are here on a voluntary basis and they're that committed to the sport. I just want to go out there on a Sunday and keep getting wins for them.”

And that’s exactly what he did on his debut, delighting coach Chris Vernon, who described his new star as ‘key’ to the team’s chances.

But despite his personal accomplishments, Wardy insisted that, as long as the team are winning, it doesn’t matter who sticks the size four in the onion bag.

“You always back yourself anyway, so goals aren't important, it's all about performance,” he said.

“It's the team performance more than anything. Helping us to get the win was the most important thing. But it was good to go well. It doesn't matter whether it's your debut or not, you want to win every game.

“It's going well with the team, I've been enjoying the training. It's a good group of young lads, as well as a few experienced lads, and they're all hungry. There's a lot of talented lads there.

“Winning the north league has got to be the main aim of the club.

“Everybody wants to beat Baku in the nationals.

“In terms of new players and players leaving, it's difficult to manage but you've got to trust that the work you put in, in training and in games is going to come together.

“We've got a lot of room for improvement but I definitely think we can challenge.”

Another team that will be challenging in the next couple of months is England, after Ward’s goals secured them a place in the World Cup qualification tournament in Hungary, starting on December 10.

At the end of October, Ward scored against Wales, Denmark and Israel to propel England through the pre-quals, moving them one step closer to a first even appearance in the World Cup, which will be held in Colombia in 2016

“It was incredible to score in all three, and you didn't mention the fact that they were winners as well!” he laughed.

“I'm really enjoying playing for England at the minute. It's only my second season so I'm still relatively inexperienced at that level but it's a great step to get through the pre-quals.

“When you're away with England it is a little bit of a bubble, everything is about futsal and preparing for your next game. It's great to be in that professional environment, which is something you can never have at domestic level because you've got jobs and personal lives.

“To get the three wins showed what we could do if we had that opportunity to play together full time.

“I just want to keep putting that England shirt on, every time is unreal. Playing in the World Cup would be awesome.”

One thing is for sure, if Ward keeps banging in the goals for club and country, then MFC fans will have a new hero come the end of the season.

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