"It’s exciting times ahead and I’m just very happy and grateful to be a part of it" says Town's new midfielder
Rekeem Harper sat down with iFollow Ipswich after agreeing a three-year deal to join Town.
The midfielder moves to Portman Road from West Brom on an undisclosed fee, becoming Paul Cook's third summer signing following the additions of Wes Burns and Lee Evans.
Watch or read Rekeem's first interview at the Club below.
Rekeem, welcome to Ipswich Town. You’ve penned a three-year deal. How do you feel about the move and why is this the move for you?
I’m absolutely delighted to be here. I feel like it’s a perfect opportunity for me to come and settle in an environment and help a team that share the same goal as me to get to the top in football. I feel like it’s perfect timing for me and I’m excited to be here.
How have the conversations gone with [Town manager] Paul Cook?
Paul has been a very lively character, he’s very energetic. He told me about his passion for me, where he sees me at the Club and, most importantly, his goals. We share the same goals. I feel like me, the players that they are going to bring in and Paul can achieve the team goal.
What is it about his style of play that you think will suit you as a player?
Paul said he likes to play football. He likes young, hungry and energetic players who like to attack, defend and just be aggressive. One of the most important things for me is that he likes to give his players confidence. I feel like, to get the best out of myself, confidence is a massive thing so Paul just sounded like the perfect character.
You’ve played a little bit in this division before. How did you find that?
My first loan experience was at Blackburn. I was fortunate to come in and play. They ended up getting promoted that year. I was playing at the top of the division so I feel like it was a great experience and it set me in good stead for what Ipswich want to do this year.
How do you sum up your time at West Brom?
It was very good. I’m thankful to all the staff there for doing everything they’ve done for me and allowing me to make my first real start in professional football. It was a great time there and in the future I want to wish them all the best. Now it’s time for me to go on my next adventure and hopefully I’ll see them soon.
You played for West Brom in the Premier League, too. What were those games like?
It was great. I still remember my debut to this day. Being given the opportunity to come on for 20 minutes and play at the top in football was a great experience. It was a proud day for me, my family and all the people close to me. That’s obviously the long-term goal, to get to the Premier League, and hopefully I can do that with Ipswich to get more moments like that.
How was last season with Birmingham?
Birmingham was another very good experience. Being at West Brom where I wasn’t playing as much, it was good to get out and be in a different environment. It was an opportunity to go and play games and I feel like I did achieve that at Birmingham. I managed to get a few appearances and we managed to stay safe so my personal goal of playing more football was achieved. I’m delighted that I can come here and continue on that performance from last year.
You’re only a young player but do you feel like you’re already quite experienced?
I feel like I’m already blessed and fortunate to have played games at men’s level. It stands me in good stead for when I want to hopefully come here and do the things that I set out to do and what the manager wants from us. I’m very fortunate, I’m very blessed and I’m thankful for it.
You mentioned that shared goal. Is that part of what drew you to the Club?
Definitely. I feel like every player loves ambition, whether that’s their own individual goals or the manager’s goals. It’s a driving point and a bit of motivation for the players. It’s exciting times ahead and I’m just very happy and grateful to be a part of it.
You’ve been to Portman Road for a game before but didn’t manage to come on. How much are you looking forward to getting out there?
I’m excited. I remember the stadium. I can’t remember how many people there was but it was pretty full. There’s nothing better than playing in front of that many people who come to watch you play. I just hope I can excite them.
What are you hoping to offer to the team?
I would describe myself as an energetic player. I love to attack and I love to defend. I love to be on the ball and obviously I would like to score more goals and create goals. I feel like they are strengths of mine anyway. I’m a fearless player who wants to excite people and bring results to the football club and help the team with whatever I can do on the pitch.
Do you know any of the lads here?
No, I’m not too familiar with the players. I’ve heard of a few names but I’m just excited to meet everyone and get down to work.
You’re moving to a new area as well. As a young lad, that must be a big experience for you…
Definitely. I’ve never been outside of Birmingham really so it’s a massive change for me. I’m willing to make that sacrifice to improve my career and go in the direction I want to go. I’m very motivated and I feel like making this move goes to show this. I can’t wait to get settled and get started with the team.