QPR youngster Armstrong admits pressure to score affected him

QPR striker Sinclair Armstrong admits the pressure of expectation affected him last season.

The 20-year-old Dubliner is one of the most exciting young players to come through the club’s development system in many years, after joining from Shamrock Rovers in 2020.

He was included in the first-team squad by former boss Michael Beale at the start of last season, but he finished the campaign without a goal from 24 appearances – with all but three of those outings coming from the substitutes’ bench.

The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international finally broke his duck on Saturday in Rangers’ 2-1 win at Cardiff, where he also set up the second goal for Kenneth Paal.

Armstrong, who struggled with injuries last season, says he was trying too hard to score and that self-doubt began to creep into his game.

“When you break in as a young forward you can do nothing but think ‘I have to score,'” Armstrong explained.

“As the season went on it just wasn’t happening and I was putting myself under too much pressure to score.

“Everyone kept saying to me ‘Today’s the day, your goal will come’, but it just didn’t happen.

“So I couldn’t wait for the season to end so I could refresh my mind, go back home (to Ireland) and come back in to pre-season with a new mindset that I’m the best and I don’t care what people think.”

Armstrong tucked away his first goal, after being teed up by a fine low cross from Paul Smyth, despite being affected by a dislodged contact lens.

And despite having rehearsed his goal celebration, when he did finally score Armstrong didn’t know what to do.

He said: “It’s weird because I have been doing stupid things in the mirror, and I thought ‘What kind of celebration would bang?’ But when I scored I just did a knee slide.

“Please God it will be start of many more to come.”

Armstrong also credited pre-match advice from team-mate Ilias Chair for his role in setting up the second goal for Paal – Armstrong showed a composure that was often lacking in his game last season.

“Ilias keeps telling me that my best asset is that I can run, and is always on to me to stretch defences and that’s what I did,” he said.

“I like to think I put it on a plate for Kenny to score,”