Sam Vokes: Talentspotter

We find out more about Bournemouth's former striker, now with Burnley via Wolverhampton Wanderers, in April 2008.

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Vokesy (for obvious reasons) or Big Man.

Club supported as a boy
I’m a local lad so I grew up supporting Southampton. They were good times down there with the likes of Matt Le Tissier doing the business. He was an amazing player and there was never a dull moment. I still try to pop to the St Mary’s whenever I can.

My strength and my heading ability. I hold the ball up well and my finishing is improving, too. League One is a tough, physical league and it’s hard when you’re a youngster coming up against experienced defenders – but I’ve learnt a lot over the past year, and I think I’ve proved that I’m capable of cutting it. I’ve scored eight goals so far this season and I’ve set myself a target of 10, so I haven’t got too far to go.

My speed and agility still need work and I’m not the best at tracking back and forward runs, but I’m getting there. Eddie Howe (who used to play down here and at Pompey) is now on the coaching staff, and has been a big help.

I play a bit like
I’d like to say Alan Shearer. As a target man and as a goalscorer there was no one better. You have to aim high, so there’s no harm in comparing yourself with the best.

My most memorable match was my debut against Nott’m Forest for Bournemouth. We put out a young side and beat them 2-0. Representing Wales under-21s against Northern Ireland last year was a great moment, too. I’m English but qualify for Wales through my granddad, and I scored within about 30 seconds of my debut – the ball got rolled back to me level with the penalty spot and I put it away.

I had a back injury for about six weeks just after my Wales debut, so I missed out on a lot of football, which was frustrating because I was on a high and desperate to kick on.

Toughest opponent
We played against Huddersfield in January and Robert Page was playing at the back for them. We got turned over 1-0 at their place, and coming up against a player that strong and with so much experience was a real test.

Best player played with
I’ve got to say Darren Anderton. He’s still class, and runs the game from midfield when he’s fit. There are a lot of senior pros down here, and they’re all superb to work with. As a young striker it’s good to have someone like Lee Bradbury here, too; he’s been around for a long time and has played in every division.

Biggest influence
As well as my family, who have always been great, it would have to be Joe Roach, the youth team coach at Bournemouth. I’ve worked with him for years and he has really helped me develop my game.

Biggest practical joker
Warren Cummings loves a joke, and he’s up to something every day.

Latest car
I’ve got a Peugeot 206, a nice little runaround.

I Am Legend was the last film I saw at the cinema. It was decent – you know what you’re getting with Will Smith.

I can choose anyone? Crikey. Gemma Atkinson’s a good shout. No. scrub that. I’ll punt for Kelly Brook.

Preferred holiday destination
I love going to Marbella and the Costa Del Sol. I’m big on Florida, too.

If I hadn’t been a footballer
I’m at college at the moment doing a BTEC in sport, so if I hadn’t made it as a footballer, I’d be looking to get into some kind of coaching role. It’s been hard fitting the course in with football. We played last night and I didn’t get back until late so I was dying for a lie-in this morning – but still had to get here by nine.

In five years’ time
Who knows, but I’ll be trying to play at the highest level possible.

From the April 2008 issue of FourFourTwo.