Tunnicliffe looking to prove people wrong after Lions exit

Ryan Tunnicliffe in action for the Hatters
Ryan Tunnicliffe in action for the Hatters

New Town signing Ryan Tunnicliffe is looking to prove a few people wrong this season by showing he is more than capable of playing in the Championship.

The 26-year-old was released by Millwall boss Neil Harris after two years at the New Den, playing 32 times last season as the Lions avoided relegation and reached the FA Cup quarter-final.

However, no new contract was on the table for Tunnicliffe, who then had to find new employment, which he did by agreeing a move to Kenilworth Road.

Speaking to the Luton News, the midfielder said: “It was probably really late on, after the season finished, the gaffer rang me and said basically he wasn’t in a position to offer me a deal at the time.

“So that time you’ve got to look for a new job and get on the phone to your agent and put the feelers out and luckily the gaffer (Graeme Jones) was interested and we got this one done.

“On one hand it’s not great to be told you’re not wanted, but football’s a ruthless sport, I’m sure everyone knows that now.

“It’s a ruthless thing and sometimes you’re in favour, sometimes you’re not.

“I’m old enough now and mature enough to know, take it on the chin.

“Luckily this opportunity arose and it gives me extra motivation now because I was released if you like, a bit of a chip on the shoulder to prove I can still do it and do it at this level.

“I believe I’m more than capable of playing at this level, I’ve done it for years now.

“It’s added motivation that someone didn’t want you and just want to try and prove their judgement wrong by having a great season.”

On where the former Manchester United starlet thinks his best chance of doing that in Town’s team is, should they set up in the diamond formation under Jones, he said: “I would like to think I can play anywhere in that.

“I feel like I’m a smart footballer, but I don’t think being a defensive one suits my qualities. Like the gaffer says, I like to run about, so if I’m just limited to holding, it probably takes away my best attributes.

“I would like to play more in an advanced role, but that’s up to the manager, first and foremost I’ve got to train hard and get into the starting 11.”

When bringing him to the club, Jones had said that the former Fulham and Wigan player was ‘an animal in terms of distance and intensity.’

On finding that out, Tunnicliffe continued: “That’s nice to hear.

“I think he said my distance covering intensity, I’m an animal in that regard, which I am, I always have been.

“I don’t feel like anyone can outrun me on a pitch, that’s just how I feel.

“I’m confident, I’m a fit lad, but I’m not just a workaholic, over the last two years I’ve probably not shown it enough, but I like to get on the ball, make things happen.

“Box to box, score goals even though my record’s not great, but everyone wants to score goals, so I’m not just a runner.”