sport

Van Wolfswinkel slams critics

Ricky van Wolfswinkel has insisted he is fully committed to Norwich and is determined to silence the doubters over the festive schedule.

The record signing has made only nine appearances for Chris Hughton's side this season, spending a total of 13 weeks on the sidelines with a troublesome toe injury.

His prolonged absence prompted rumours that he had failed to settle at Carrow Road after signing a four-year deal in July.

But the Dutch striker has dismissed the reports after returning to the senior side at Sunderland on Saturday, and he is poised to start the Boxing Day clash against Fulham with a point to prove.

"People said I wasn't enjoying it here. That frustrated me," said Van Wolfswinkel, who appeared as a second-half substitute in the goalless draw at the Stadium of Light.

"When you're not playing people say 'it's only a toe injury, he doesn't really want to play or be here'. These people really annoyed me. I'm really, really happy here.

"It frustrates me to hear things like that, but what can you say? All I could do is focus on my recovery and get back on the pitch.

"I have a lot to prove and a lot to show. I can't wait to get started. I've had my holiday and I can't wait to play football."

Van Wolfswinkel, an 8.5m summer signing from Sporting Lisbon, made an aborted comeback against Cardiff in October and he insisted his eagerness to return ultimately hampered his rehabilitation.

"I didn't listen to anyone and started too quickly again. I made some wrong decisions," he added. "Playing against Cardiff was my call. The physios said it's better I don't, but I wanted to.

"I wanted to play because I saw the team wasn't playing too well.

"You think 'it's just a toe' and I tried to play against Cardiff and help the team, but I found I couldn't and needed to take my time.

"I was very happy to be back. I was counting the weeks. I had a programme in my locker and it was getting longer each week - 13 weeks out in total. That was rubbish so I was so happy to be back.

"There were times when I thought this is taking too long and that was frustrating.

"There are two things I don't like to do and that's ride the bike and swim. I had to do both for 13 weeks."