GLAD ALL ROVER
Midfielder Isaiah Osbourne believes he’ll fit in perfectly at Forest Green
FOOTBALL is a results business, we know. Winning is all that counts, no matter how you go about it.
At least, that’s what some say, but not Isaiah Osbourne who believes the way you achieve success is just as important as getting there in the first place.
The former Aston Villa academy graduate was released by Walsall at the end of last season but is relishing his fresh opportunity at EFL new boys Forest Green Rovers.
The free agent has signed for Rovers until the end of the season
But the 29-year-old doesn’t see it as a step down at all and likes the way boss Mark Cooper wants to play football at the New Lawn.
“It came down to the manager really and the style of football he wanted.
“I wanted to be at a team that actually wants to play football,” said the midfielder.
“The manager told me they like to play it out from the back and, when I heard that, that was enough for me.
“They want to pass the ball and do things in the right way, whereas previous managers have wanted to hit the channels and go more direct.
“This manager believes in patient build-up, which I totally agree with.”
Osbourne joined the West Midlands side in 2015, then under the guidance of Dean Smith and gunning for a return to the Championship for the first time since 2004.
Things looked like they were coming together for the allaction midfielder, but a serious knee injury threatened his career and kept him out for the entire season.
Walsall missed out by a point on automatic promotion that year, eventually losing to Barnsley in the play-offs.
Osbourne admits he struggled to cope with his time on the sidelines, as Smith left for Brentford and was replaced by Jon Whitney.
“The injury took it out of me,” he admitted. “When I signed for Walsall, the team was playing well and then I missed the whole season of that attractive football.
“That was a devastating blow. We missed out on promotion by just a point. But now I’m back from injury I feel just happy to be on the pitch because, at one stage, they thought it would be careerthreatening.
“There are a lot of people who probably wouldn’t have made it through the injury I had, so I’m thankful for sure.”
Forest Green’s maiden voyage in the Football League has left them in the relegation zone after two months of the season, with many fearing the worst.
But this is far from panic stations for Osbourne, who has called on his teammates to remain calm and continue to play their natural game.
He said: “When I went through the battle myself I didn’t really see it as a panic situation. I’ve never let it get to me. I’ve been here with Blackpool, Nottingham Forest and Scunthorpe, so I know the drill.
“I think it is psychological as well as your ability when you’re scrapping away down the bottom. You just have to remain calm and keep your cool.
“A few victories can push you right up the table, so we just need to stick together and see where we go from there.”
GLAD TO BE BACK: Isaiah Osbourne, in action here for Walsall, hated his time on the sidelines
FOOTBALL PHILOSOPHY: Forest Green boss Mark Cooper