31st May, 2013
Nigeria winger, Sone Aluko, says he is confident he and Hull City will be the English Premier League, EPL, shock troopers next season.
Aluko was an attacking revelation as ‘The Tigers’ clinched automatic promotion in the EPL at the just concluded season, scoring eight goals in 22 starts before injury cut short his campaign in January.
Although an ill-timed lay-off meant the 24-year-old missed out on the final four months of the season, a full recovery ensures he will rejoin team-mates for pre-season training on July 4.
That will begin the countdown to the Premier League kick-off on 17 August and Aluko is desperate for the chance to prove himself at the highest level.
“I’m 100 percent confident I can go to the Premier League and play my part,” he said. “I can’t wait, I honestly can’t wait.
“They should fear me because I watched them far more than they’ve watched me. Hopefully, that will give me the advantage. Not just myself but I hope the whole team can take a few people by surprise.”
Aluko is heading back to the top flight eight years after he came within a whisker of a Premier League debut.
As the rising star of Birmingham City under Tigers boss Steve Bruce, a 16-year-old Aluko was an unused substitute for the Blues visit to Arsenal in October 2005.
That ultimately proved to be a premature introduction and it has needed spells north of the border with Aberdeen and Rangers, and last summer’s move to East Yorkshire to bring him back to the brink of the Premier League.
Aluko said he is more “tortoise than hare” but is thrilled to have arrived back in the big time.
“I came close before when I got to the bench at 16,” he explained.
“The manager never put me on and I still rib Steve Bruce about it now. I could have been one of the youngest players ever in the Premier League and now I’m 24.
“Obviously I’m the tortoise instead of the hare. It’s taken me eight years to get from the bench to the Premier League again.
“It’s going to be incredible playing against Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea. That’s what you dream about when you’re young.
“For someone like me, with the career I’ve had, it’s amazing to get there.”