MONTREAL – Ian Westlake was waiting for some good news from his new manager, but his phone wasn’t ringing. Not that he was aware of, at least.
That’s when Westlake realized that he had a few missed calls, each from Montreal head coach Jesse Marsch.
“I kept missing his calls,” Westlake told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday in a phone interview from his native England, where he is enjoying a few weeks of rest. “All I could think about was, ‘The new manager isn’t going to like me if I keep ignoring his phone calls.’”
All jokes aside, Marsch and Westlake finally got in touch and had a good chat, during which the manager congratulated the Englishman on becoming the club’s latest signing on Monday afternoon.
And based on the discussion with his new gaffer, the former U-21 England international is confident that he can bring plenty to the expansion side.
“From what I understood so far, everyone is going to be a team player,” Westlake said. “Jesse wants players with character, and I want to be one of them. I love the sound of that. But I also want to bring energy, goals and assists.”
And although he’s currently thousands of miles away, the 28-year-old midfielder can’t wait to return to Montreal in January.
“I’m very excited,” Westlake said. “The [jump to] MLS is a challenge for the Impact and for me, and we’re both really excited to get started and give it a go.”
Named Newcomer of the Year alongside Sinisa Ubiparipovic with the NASL Impact last season, Westlake admitted he still has plenty of learn about MLS.
“It’s getting bigger in England,” he told MLSsoccer.com. “There aren’t that many games. I saw quite a few games when I was in Montreal last summer, and I can say that’s it’s becoming a strong league.”
Being in his native country also meant that Westlake hasn’t had an opportunity to see the Impact’s new kits up close. Despite the distance, he still caught a peek and liked the look.
“It’s absolutely brilliant,” he said. “It has a modern look to it. I think it’s a really classy shirt.”
Westlake will be the fourth member of the 2011 Montreal squad to wear that shirt, joining NASL Impact teammates defender Hassoun Camara, goalkeeper Evan Bush and Ubiparipovic on the MLS roster.