JOE THOMPSON hopes he has just made the first of many instalments in repaying Tranmere manager Ronnie Moore for showing faith in his abilities.
The winger’s first goal in a Rovers shirt secured a victory at Notts County last Saturday that Moore regarded as the most complete performance in an 11 game unbeaten start to the League One campaign.
“I was delighted for Joe because he was positive and took players on,” Moore said. “I want to see more of that from him.”
Thompson will be the first to acknowledge that he did not find his best form in the early weeks of the season, following a summer transfer from Rochdale.
The move was the first of his career, bringing to an end five years as a professional at Spotland, where he progressed through the youth development system. It also coincided with a change of life outside football – becoming a father for the first time.
Thompson said: “I found a settling in harder than I thought it would be because I was in a comfort zone at Rochdale. I had been there for a long time, since I was a kid and I would walk to the ground from home each morning.
“It was good for me to get out of it and learn a bit more about myself. Slowly but surely I have got to know the lads here at Tranmere and it helps when you are winning games week in week out.”
Thompson heard about Tranmere’s interest during the summer and was flattered that Moore was prepared to invest a modest transfer fee in bringing him to Prenton Park.
“I know with the gaffer signing me and putting me in the team that he has got a lot of faith in me,” Thompson said. “It was quite hard to adapt at first but I know for a fact that I have a lot more to give the team.
“I’m learning about myself off the pitch and learning every day on the football side here.”
Thompson added: “I did not realise how big a club Tranmere is until I got here.
“Everything is on a bigger scale to Rochdale and the training is of a better quality.
“The buzz in the dressing room is tremendous. I saw what it is like on the other end of things last season, getting relegated with Rochdale last season. Now I’ve seen what team spirit can do. Even when we’ve not played well, we’ve got results.”
Moore targeted the 23-year-old as one of a group of summer signings who could add pace and energy to the side. Winger Abdulai Bell-Baggie and former Rochdale teammate Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro also feature among the new arrivals with fast feet.
“I noticed when I first arrived there were a lot of young lads here,” said Thompson, who has been vying for the wide right midfield slot with Bell-Baggie.
“Pace is an asset to any team and some of our opponents have struggled to cope with us.
“Now we are finding teams who come to Prenton Park are changing the way they play, doing things like pulling five players across midfield to make it difficult for us.
“Although we are young I think as a team we have quite a mature mentality about us. Everyone wants to work hard, to do their bit and something extra.
“We are top of the league but we are trying to keep our feet on the ground. We are trying to make sure we’re doing things professionally.”