Florian Jozefzoon has had to bide his time since his arrival at Pride Park Stadium, but when his opportunity came knocking in the double-header against Hull City last week, he grasped it with both hands.
The Dutch winger made his third start for Derby County last Tuesday in the Carabao Cup Round Two tie and he scored his first goal for the Rams in style. He was also the driving force behind Derby’s third goal in the 4-0 win over the Tigers when he raced to tap in a cross from Duane Holmes, eventually forcing Brandon Fleming into an own goal.
His solid shift in midweek made picking the starting XI on Saturday an even more difficult decision, but a good problem, for Frank Lampard to have, with Mason Bennett and Tom Lawrence having enjoyed superb starts to their seasons.
However, Jozefzoon’s name was included in starting line-up and once again, he proved worthy.
“I’m ready, I’m just ready,” Jozefzoon told RamsTV.
“Even if I wasn’t starting, I am ready. I was pleased to start, and I think everyone who is in the starting XI, especially in a big squad, is happy. Then you have to show it.”
The 27-year-old did exactly that. With the game tied and a resilient Hull side fighting back, it would have been easy for the Rams to see out the game and take a point.
But Lampard has instilled a winning mentality into his players and they refused to be content with a draw. In the 88th minute Jozefzoon fired Derby to victory as he latched on to a cross from Bennett, who had come off the bench just one minute before.
“I feel really good, especially because we were under pressure. It is always difficult to play a team twice in a week and you saw that on Saturday,” Jozefzoon said.
“They changed the team and they had something to prove to the home crowd.
“You have to stay sharp for that one chance and we got away with some good chances from their side, but in the end, we got the ‘W’. I am really happy with the goal and the win.”
Though he was happy for himself, he was even more excited for his team and seeing the players beside him flourish as well. Something that the Rams side has done a lot of after six league games and two cup ties.
Jozefzoon has got his goal tally underway with two in two games, steadily approaching his seven-goal mark set at Brentford last season.
Bennett has provided two late assists to claim last-gasp victories over Reading and Hull and has been forcing his way into the side, while Lawrence, with three goals, is already halfway to his goal total of last term.
Jozefzoon was quick to praise his teammates following Derby's fourth consecutive victory.
“You see Tom come in, he sprinted 50 metres back and got the tackle, that was really important.
“We don’t want to lose, no one wants to lose. In those games it is hard and sometimes as an attacker you have to defend more than attack. But we all do it for the win.
He added: “You see it again in Mason, he came in and he gave the ball to me for the goal, so everyone is important.”