He is best known for his sharp turn of pace and guile, writes James Shield.
But, after completing a dream move to Sheffield United, Jamal Campbell-Ryce is also preparing to graft when Nigel Clough’s squad resumes its bid for promotion next term.
“This is League One football and it’s tough,” Campbell-Ryce, the former Notts County winger, said. “I’m an attacker and I like to create goals and score.
“But it’s no use being a flair player and just hanging around at the top end of the pitch waiting for something to happen or someone to help you out. At this level you’ve also got to be ready to work your socks off and give everything you’ve got to help out your team mates or you’ve got no chance.
“This competition is always a long hard slog. It’s going to be no different this time around too.”
A long hard slog is how Campbell-Ryce, whose transfer will be officially completed in July when his contract at Meadow Lane expires, also described County’s battle against relegation last season when Shaun Derry’s side avoided the drop on the final day of the campaign.
Outlining the chain of events which saw him unveiled, together with fellow new signing Marc McNulty, 48 hours ago, the 31-year-old said: “Without a shadow of a doubt this is the biggest club that I’ve played for. I’ve been fortunate to represent some great teams but this one eclipses the lot.
“The fans, the stature and the set-up. I’m really pumped about it all. County offered me a new deal and I don’t have a bad word to say about them because I really enjoyed my time there and I owe them a lot.
“But when the chance to came here arose, that was it. I’m just so excited that I can’t wait to get going.”
“It was a surprise when I heard Sheffield United were interested in me,” Campbell-Ryce continued. “But a really pleasant one and then everything happened so quickly.
“I caught wind of it and within a week everything was done.
“It means a lot when a manager like Mr Clough gives you that recognition. Especially when you see how well he’s done.”
United were 19th in the table when a Campbell-Ryce inspired County put them to the sword in January. Four months and one FA Cup semi-final later, Clough’s charges eventually secured seventh placed after winning 15 of their last 23 games.
Derry, who took charge of the East Midlands club within a fortnight of Clough’s appointment on October 23, made 83 appearances for United during his playing career.
Campbell-Ryce, previously of Rotherham, Barnsley and Bristol City, said: “I put in a call to Shaun Derry on the way up to Sheffield to tell him I’d signed and he wished me all the best. He told me what a massive club this is and that I should enjoy what is a fantastic opportunity.
“This club should not be in League One. The stadium, the training, the ground, the manager, the fans; they are all Championship, at least.”