Eric Kinder on the players offered contracts
United youth boss Eric Kinder spoke to us about one of the most rewarding aspects of his job – the offer of professional contracts for three of his charges as the current season heads towards its climax.
“The good part of the job is when you tell the lads who are getting an offer that they have made it through,” he said.
“Brandon [Gwinnutt] has come up on the rails a little bit but I’m delighted that he has made it. If you’d asked me before Christmas then I’d have told you that he was going to struggle.
“We gave him an extended break back then because he lives down in Derby and that means he has to stay up here every weekend. I told him to take an extra week because I could see that he’d hit the rocks a little bit.
“I wanted him to think about what he was doing and it worked, because he came back in January and he was a different person. He has shown us loads of enthusiasm and an unbelievable desire to do well.
“He is a very athletic person and he is brave and very strong. He has started to catch the eye and both the manager and I think that there is something there to take forward.
“The other thing that he can really use in his favour is that he’s a right back, and that’s a position we don’t have a great deal of cover for.
“I think the gaffer has it in mind that he will get him in and challenge him to have a good pre-season. If he comes back and blows us all away then he could find himself in the team. If that doesn’t happen then he could be one who we send out on-loan to get some first team competitive experience.
“He’s perhaps the one who has surprised everyone this time round in terms of being offered a contract. It’s no surprise to me though. I’ve watched him come back to work after having had a break and he has put in some magnificent performances.
“This proves that if you keep going then you make people’s minds up for them just by the way you do your business. Things can change, but it’s up to the lads to do what’s needed to make it go that way.”
“Jack Lynch has been in and around the first team since the day he walked into the club two years ago,” he explained. “He has trained with them a lot and he has always handled it well.
“The first team staff have had nothing but compliments for him and that’s because he keeps things very simple. He keeps the ball, he passes it short and quick, and he has that little bit of nastiness you need when you are playing in the midfield role.
“He’s a quiet lad who rarely speaks and that’s because he just gets on with things in his own way. He takes three hours to have a shower, he does his jobs at one pace and nothing ever bothers him. He has been a delight to work with because he gives you absolutely no trouble at all.
“He’s started to question things and speak up more over the last few months, and that’s a good thing. I’m really pleased for him because he has earned this. I’ve said that he’s quiet but he has conducted himself in such a way that he has learned and improved almost every step of the way.”
“Alex [Salmon] is a very talented footballer,” he continued. “He’s very confident in his own ability and he will always back himself to do well. Having said that, I saw another side to him today.
“He came into the office to talk to the manager and it was suddenly a situation that he had no control over. As soon as he was told that he was getting an offer the bravado was gone and he slumped forward in his seat. I’ve never seen him like that before. I was looking at the vulnerable young man who is usually very well hidden away ... and I suppose it proves that he’s human!
“He does have a quick answer for everything but we’re always told that the really good players have a certain level of arrogance. On the pitch he scores goals and he links play up in a way that not many players of his age can produce.
“I think he knows that he’ll have to tone things down a bit when he joins the first team squad full-time but he deserves this contract offer.”
“The situation now for these lads is that they have a little bit of time to think about the offer they’ve been given,” he concluded. “The paperwork will be drawn up and then they’ll come back into the club at the end of June as professional footballers.
“I’m absolutely over the moon and delighted for all three of them.”