Robbie Findley appeared before the media Saturday for the first time since his return. He appeared to be the same calm, understated, humble player that left Salt Lake for the lure of bigger things in Europe following the 2010 season and his surprising run as a starter at that years World Cup. However, perhaps his perspective has changed a bit given a disappointing stint with Nottingham Forrest in England’s second tier league.
“I learned a lot,” said Findley. “I had a few different managers which probably wasn’t the best, but I learned a lot and met a lot of guys.”
Despite the frustrations, being loaned out to a lower level club, and experiencing a carousel of managers, the fleet-footed striker took away something from the experience. “It was a good experience. Just being over in England, I learned a few things, sharpened up a little bit. I feel confident, and consistent. ”
He returns to Salt Lake feeling good about where he’s at as a player, and believes he still has the one asset that set him apart in his first stint with the team. “I hope [my pace is] the same. I am getting older, but nah, I feel good. I don’t feel like I’ve lost a step or anything. It’s one of my strengths, and so I’ve got to stick to it.”
Coach Jason Kreis feels that the lack of success abroad may prove dividends for RSL this season.
“He’s a player that we really enjoyed when he was here,” explained Kreis. “He’s a great team chemistry guy. He’s extremely hard working and I think he’s in exactly the right position for success right now, because he’s also a player that hasn’t done well over the last year and a half since he left us. Let’s be frank and honest, I don’t think there’s any reason to shy away from that. He has not succeeded in his latest endeavor, so he comes back to us with something to prove. In our prior experiences when we have players who come to us with something to prove and are hungry for something, those players have done particularly well. So, we are excited to hopefully help Robbie get back to being Robbie Findley on an upward curve.”
The player himself feels like having something to prove is just part of who he is.
“I’ve always got something to prove. I’ve got to win a spot. I haven’t solidified anything here.”
Findley along with Fabian Espindola played alongside Alvaro Saborio in 2010, the year the Costa Rican international arrived in Salt Lake. While it was a season of adjustment for Saborio as he got acclimated to his new squad and the league, Findley looks forward to once again having the chance of pairing up with him up top.
“I’ve always said Sabo’s been a good player – good finisher, he’s got some pace, good hold up man. Kind of a big man, little man tandem going. We’ve got to get our chemistry going, and hopefully good things can happen.”
If things go well, the plan is to try to get back on the US National Team radar.
“That comes down to playing games and scoring goals,” explained Findley. “That’s where it killed me in England. I wasn’t playing consistently. I scored a few goals, but not on a regular basis. So if I can get the games in and start scoring and we’re successful, then I think that will all fall into place.”
Findley enjoyed that his teammates were fairly keen on MLS. “They’re big on it. They watch it. They have few games on TV over there too. A lot of them would like to come over and play. It’s definitely going in the right direction.”
He even jokingly said he was willing to help recruit some players to make the move, but with some limitations.
“Not if they’re in the same position, but I’ll see what I can do.”
What are your thoughts on Findley’s return? Will he come back better than before? Are you worried that he’s lost form? Will his experience abroad make him more effective on the pitch?