Exeter City loan has given Robbie Willmott a ‘new lease of life’ – and he hopes to stay
Robbie Willmott says his career has been given a new lease of life after his loan transfer to Exeter City – and he hopes to do enough to make it permanent.
The 30-year-old winger joined League 2 club Newport County at the end of the January transfer window and has so far contributed one goal and one assist in his three appearances.
But with Willmott without a contract at the end of the season and his future in Wales uncertain, he hopes to use his time at St James Park to showcase himself for the summer – but would like to stay in Devon.
“It was a good change for me,” he said. “When you’re on loan you want to jump in and luckily I did it with a goal and an assist, and the staff and players made me feel welcome and that makes it easier and gets me in. in such a good environment.
“Right now Exeter is an amazing place for me. I’m much happier, I play, I score, I do an assist, so I have found a real new confidence in myself and I can only blame it for being at Exeter. It’s been brilliant for me so far and if I can continue it will be a brilliant end to the season for me.
Having been a regular on the Exiles’ side for the past few seasons, Willmott had found limited opportunities this season, having only made five league starts before his departure in January.
With him in his 30s, the winger said he wanted to play regularly and felt his career had stalled, but with a young family, including a six-month-old baby girl, his starting options were limited until what the Greeks are going for him.
“It was tough moving, but I felt like I had to do it like out of contract this summer and I wasn’t playing at Newport,” Willmott said.
“I felt it was important for my future to go out and express myself and get as much interest in the summer as I’m out of contract. Had to sit down with my partner and think about it and got a few offers the day before the deadline that didn’t fit the location.
“I turned down a club in the morning and expected to stay, then Exeter walked in, then I jumped at the chance, and felt I needed it to brush things up and I felt I had to go back somewhere to find myself.
“I’m 30 and I want to play and help promote and I wasn’t doing it for different reasons at Newport so I felt I needed a change and my confidence level was low.
“But it gave me new life. I didn’t want the season to collapse and not play and I wanted to contribute a season and Exeter gave me the chance and I want to continue for the end of the season.
He added: “I feel like I have a real freedom to go out and express myself and play the way I want to play. It was tough at Newport at times, I played a lot out of position, but I ‘was ready to do it, so I was playing in defensive roles.
“People think of me as a winger and say ‘he hasn’t scored in so many games’, but unfortunately I was playing either in defensive midfielder, or as a winger, or as a right-back or left was difficult to score.
“When I was given the opportunity to play wide, I think I got quite a few assists for Newport, and I’m out of contract this summer, so I need to get as much interest as possible, but I also want to do as well as I can for Exeter.
“I want to thank the chef for taking my chance the day before the deadline and helping the team get as high up the table as possible, and if something happened and was on the table I would really consider it, so it’s up to me to do enough to get Exeter interested in me for the summer.
Upon arriving at St James Park, Willmott said he was immediately shown clips of how the Greeks wanted him to fit into the squad, and that training at City is more intense than in Newport, and is much more focused on what they can do rather than the opposition.
And with City in seventh place in the standings, just four points off the automatic promotion spots with a game in hand, Willmott believes the team can get a promotion spot, but the focus is on the promotion first. obtaining the three points of the trip to Crawley Town.
He said: “Exeter will be there or so and the team have incredible ability and the young guys have been amazed at how good they are. We have enough quality to be up there at the end of the season, but we let’s not talk about it now, we’re just focusing on the next game and Crawley and if we can get three points and the results are going for us, and we can keep climbing the table.