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INTERVIEW: This group has worked hard

4 April 2013

Manager on second year youth decisions

United manager Greg Abbott spoke to us on Thursday afternoon about the decisions made on the current crop of second year youth players.

“The easy part of this day is when you sit down to talk to the players who have made it through,” he said.

“In Jack Lynch we’ve seen the type of midfield player that we possibly haven’t had for a while. He is fantastic in the way he chases the opposition down and in the way he tries to make sure he wins his battles.

“He is extremely tenacious and he has an excellent range of passing, and he is one who brings a really competitive edge to his game. That gives us quite a lot to work with.”

“With Alex Salmon, we think we’ve got something completely different,” he added. “He’s what I would call a number ten. 

“He could sit at the top of a diamond or become a really effective link between midfield and attack. We haven’t had that type of player since Ben Marshall was here. 

“He doesn’t have great pace, so that might hold him back, but he compensates for that by having a very quick brain. He has a habit of getting into areas where he can make things happen and he’s another who is giving us plenty to build on.”

“The reaction I just got from Brandon [Gwinnutt] was great to see,” he told us. “It was almost a carbon copy of what happened with David Symington last year. 

“I have to be honest and say that he was one I have thought long and hard about. What we have to acknowledge is that he has worked exceptionally hard over the course of the last few months and he has really shown us what he is made of.

“His attitude and determination have been different class and he has shown a real desire to get it right. His football has improved dramatically because of that and, if he carries on this way, then he will be a very good player. We want him to be successful and he now has a chance to make things go that way.”

“I’ve spent more time with the players we’ve had to let go today because there is a real appreciation for the work this group has put in for this club,” he said.

“I was supposed to have a meeting with the managing director this afternoon but I’ve cancelled it because dealing with these young men is more important at this moment in time.

“All I can do is hope that I’ve made the right decision when it comes to the lads we’ve released. I know exactly how it feels – it happened to me as an 18-year old when I was with Coventry – and I can tell you now that it feels like the end of the world.

“I feel just as bad as they do but I know there is nothing I can say to make it any better for them right now. I like good people and that’s what these lads are. A real success story would be to get them all through at the end of every year, but football isn’t like that. 

“I thank all of them for what they’ve done and for the way they have worked, and I can say with hand on heart that they have been a credit to themselves and to their families. The decisions we have made have all been done for the right reasons and we will always be here to help any player who has been with us, if he feels he needs it.

“There’s a genuine hope that they go on and prove us wrong somewhere. That would mean that they’ve got a route into football, but we wish all of them all the very best with whatever they go on to do.”

“I’ve already spoken quite clearly about what we expect from the three who will stay with us,” he concluded.

“The real hard work for them starts right now. They join a group of experienced professionals next season and their job is to force their way into the team. 

“We are here to give them every bit of encouragement and help along the way to achieve that, but the biggest part of it comes from themselves. They need to come into the squad and show that they are as fit and as strong as everybody else and that they are ready to take the challenge on of being a player who can make a difference on a Saturday afternoon, when it really matters. 

“They have a great example in the likes of Mark Beck, Mark Gillespie, Brad Potts, Dave Symington and Josh Todd and the way they have handled it, so that shows that the right approach and attitude will bring the rewards.

“So, we wish the three players well as they join us to hopefully progress their careers with us, and we wish the other lads every success as they go on to the next chapter of their lives.” 

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