Martyn Waghorn is disproving the popular conception that footballers’ brains are in their boots by utilising the psychological mantra of a world-renowned professor to aid his performance while also making in-depth analyses of Rangers’ opponents in the new season.
No snooker halls, bookmaking establishments or chain restaurants for banal social media action for this fellow. He is using the writings of Stanford University’s Carol Dweck to accelerate his goal of improving performance and driving Rangers to immediate success in their first season back in the Premiership.
There is undoubted pressure on the former Leicester City and Sunderland man to prove he can be as prolific as he was last season when he scored 28 goals.
That pressure has been exacerbated by the news that he and James Tavernier, although both under contract for two more years, have rejected improved terms.
It is understood both players feel their remuneration should be increased given that Joey Barton and Niko Krancjar arrived on lucrative salaries. It will be interesting to see how this develops.
He sat with Dweck’s book Mindset on his lap as we chatted at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel in Charleston. “It’s a good little book,” said Waghorn. “It’s about trying not to let things affect me.
“I was a bit critical of myself last year if I was missing chances. It develops me to be a better player and a better person, focussing on positives rather than negatives.
“I’ve been working on this for a couple of years with a psychologist I speak to from time to time. It’s just aimed to help me get better, and anything that can help me get one per cent better or make me a better player, then why not?”
With only one pre-season match under their belts, Rangers open the season at Motherwell next Saturday in the revamped Betfred Cup and then face a further three sectional matches all within a nine-day period.
Waghorn knows Rangers have to make a statement of intent at Fir Park to illustrate their credentials for success in the major competitions.
He said: “We want to set standards for the whole season and set a benchmark for where we want to be.
“Last year is past. It’s in the history books and we have more history to write. Signing the players we have just shows how determined the club is to be where it wants to be.
“The options are good and the competition keeps you on your toes. It’s a good mixture because we are all different players.
“The competition is there, the quality is undoubted and I think it’s going to be a good year.
“Everyone’s aim is to win the league. There is no doubt about that and no hiding from it.”