Quality Assured SquadWednesday, 4th Aug 2021
04/08/21: Manager discusses new signing, squad quality and benefit of loans
Peter Grant feels that a great desire to be successful attracted him to pursuing the signing of 23 year old defender Leon Jones this week:-
“I’m sure he will be an asset to the group and I am pleased because it wasn’t easy. It has probably taken a couple of weeks to try and get it done but he has shown a great eagerness to come here. He has put himself in the shop window in that respect and once he was in the door we were very fortunate just to get the paperwork done it has taken a few days to get that done. Now, finally, we are able to announce him and we are delighted that he is part of the group.”
Peter has tracked Leon footballing progress in America where he played with Kentucky Wildcats, an intercollegiate varsity sports team of the University of Kentucky:-
“We have known him for a long time, known him as a kid and know that he has had a few injury problems. Then he became an academic and went to America. I watched a lot of him playing in America, he did exceptionally well over there and there was talk of him going to the main MLS league but because of Covid everything was moved a year, you had to study for another year and he didn’t really do that.
“We were very fortunate that we had spoken to him and knew that there was an opportunity of him coming back home a year early. There had been a few clubs shown an interest in him so we asked him to come in for the last week to 10 days and he has done exceptionally well. When you have not seen him face-to-face it is very difficult to make a judgement but with his attitude his commitment and his quality we have been delighted. He can play in different positions, he has a fantastic attitude to his game and you can see that he has progressed.”
Peter believes that Leon definitely enhances the squad and that is what he has tried to do that with all ten of his signings:-
“It gives us cover in numerous positions because he can play all across the back line. He is a real good competitor and that is important to us as well, slightly different from the rest of the boys that we have but as I say, anybody that we try to bring in has to be slightly different from the ones that we have and Leon definitely brings that.
“That is always important because we know that it is a long hard tough season and you can pick up injuries when you least expect them. We have to be ready for that and make sure that the quality doesn’t drop.”
Peter is pleased that he now has good defensive options and they are all hungry young men wanting to do well.
“That is important, it is always important because you have to bring that enthusiasm, that vibration of the group feeding off each other, on the training pitch. You have to be the most competitive and it gives us that when you are playing against each other.
“Trying to score goals is a lot more difficult now that there are a lot more defenders in respect that you can balance off both teams if you are playing games in training. It becomes all that competitive edge, instead of putting a midfielder back everybody is playing in the position where we feel they are best. That gives them a chance to shine but also makes the training ground very competitive. You can see that by the fact that boys know now that they have to do their best to try and stay in the team, and try and keep the boys who are not in the team at this moment in time, try and keep them out. So if we can manage to do that I will be delighted.
“I think you could see on Saturday that the boys that we brought on the levels didn’t drop, they went up again and I think that is so so important because when I look over my shoulder I know I can make changes and the team is not going to drop off. The boys proved that even on Saturday. I am really pleased with that side of it so long may that continue.”
Now graced with a bigger squad Peter now has to address any decisions on players going out the way and on loan. He has previously gone on record as feeling strongly that young players should be playing football and he further stressed how he would review cases:-
“I love to keep them part of it. Clubs think it is great that they can train with you and then go and play for them on a Saturday. That is something I may look at, but ninety per cent of the time I would want them here because I feel that is important for them to know what we are looking for. To get a game on a Saturday would be fine, I may look at that. I don’t like young players not playing.
“I think that there are far too many substitutes at youth level. I wouldn’t have substitutes at youth level because I think you have to see guys playing games of football. That is the only way that they get better, the only way that they can get judged. They can get released without hardly playing any games and then told that they are not good enough, but how do you know?
“I would only do it if it was right for them. I would prefer to keep every one of them in because they have all deserved that because of their attitude and the way that they have committed to themselves to the training.
“Only if it is a benefit to them and us. The benefit for them is that they are playing matches, the benefit for us is that they can put into practice what they are trying to learn during the week.”
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