Reading's McAnuff desperate to lift Championship trophy
Published: 27 Apr 2012 12:000 comments
Skipper McAnuff admits Royals' sensational ascent into the Premier League after winning the title last weekend still hasn't sunk in.
Football League rules prevent Brian McDermott's men from receiving the trophy after tomorrow's final league game at Birmingham City (3pm ko).
And the Blues are not even allowed to form a guard of honour for the champions because of red tape, even though Birmingham boss Chris Hughton would be happy to do so.
Nevertheless, Royals' crowning moment will arrive on on Sunday when they embark on their promotion parade around the town before they are presented with the trophy back at Madejski Stadium.
"I honestly can't wait to get my hands on that trophy now," declared McAnuff. "It's obviously going to be a nice week now that we've got the job done and won the championship. This Saturday will be the icing on the cake.
"In fact, it still won't feel real until we lift that trophy and it hits home what a great achievement it is to win the league.
"Players like Ian Harte and Jason Roberts have had fantastic careers at the highest level but they hadn't won anything until now.
"Those two guys were desperate to win something and when you have that from players of that calibre it filters down to the younger lads and everyone else."
Brian McDermott's decision to appoint McAnuff captain following Matt Mills' £5 million move to Leicester City last summer drew criticism from some Royals fans.
But McDermott's controversial choice has been vindicated after McAnuff led the team to promotion and the title while hardly missing a game.
Now the ex-Wimbledon, West Ham, Cardiff City, Crystal Palace and Watford winger is relishing the chance to finally test himself against the likes of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie in arguably the best league in the world.
"I can't wait to play in the Premier League," he said. "It's been a long, long road for me and it's where everyone wants to be.
"Ask any footballer in the world and they will say the same, but especially those from this country who have grown up following the Premier League,.
"We all aspire to be there so running out there for that first game next season will be brilliant. We're going to be playing the top teams and we've done well against them in recent years in the FA Cup and we always put on a good show."
And he added: "We're looking forward to the challenge now. For people like myself it's about proving I'm good enough to play in the Premier League, but none of the boys will need motivation for next season. We'll be competing against the best at some fantastic stadiums.
"I always look out for the fixture list every summer but being in the Premier League adds something extra."
Royals finish their season on Saturday with a trip to Birmingham City who are already assured of a play-off spot.
Jimmy Kebe is an injury doubt for Royals, who beat the Blues 1-0 at home back in November when Noel Hunt scored the winner.
"The season isn't over yet and we want to go there, put in a good performance and come away with a win," added McAnuff.