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MANAGER: I like to do things face-to-face

3 August 2016

Keith Curle on McQueen, Crocombe, Ibehre and Brisley

Manager Keith Curle spoke today about a frustrating situation with defender Alexander McQueen as he continues to wait to speak to the player face-to-face having offered him a new deal at the end of last season.

“We’re still talking to Alex, his representatives and his parents,” he explained. “It has been a long, drawn out thing and I think all parties will say there should have been better face-to-face communication. 

“The disappointing thing from my point of view is that I haven’t had that with him throughout the summer period. I just don’t think that’s the right way for business to be done.” 

“As we’ve said before, we identified Alex as being a project and he started over 20 games for us last season,” he said. “He trained with us constantly as well and, as a project, that shows success. Within that we have to say he is by no means the finished article and I think there’s still room for improvement with him. I still feel we can be part of him having a very good career.

“If he chooses to go elsewhere we would be entitled to some form of compensation. For us to waiver that it means we would have to withdraw our offer. We’re not prepared to do that because we think we’ve put a lot of time and effort into developing him. 

“There comes a point when it will have to be said that he wants to be here or that he doesn’t see his future as being with us. You can’t carry on paying somebody who isn’t going to play for you. We’re not there yet so we’ll see where it goes.”

Speaking about the trialists seen over the last few weeks, he said: “One trialist is still with us [Max Crocombe] and we’ll be talking to him and his representatives about which way we’re going with him today [Wednesday]. 

“We want the keeper situation resolved but I do have a high regard for Mark [Gillespie]. I think he’s been excellent but what we don’t want is somebody who is going to just sit on the bench and wear a pair of gloves. We want direct competition for the shirt. We’ve had lots of recommendations, cast an eye over a few, and in my opinion they haven’t quite been at the immediate level required. 

“However, I’ve been impressed with Max and he has attributes I like. He has good presence, he fills the goal, he has good communication and he’s trained well with Simon [Tracey]. He’s given me positive feedback about Max so I’ll find out if there’s room to potentially extend his stay with us. 

“There are things he needs to work on but I trust Simon’s recommendations completely. That’s because I played a lot of games in front of keepers and I didn’t really see what they did. If we can make it work with the negotiations we’ll see what we can do. As people know, I won’t be rushed into anything so if we start the season with Mark and one of the younger keepers, so be it.”

And on defender Shaun Brisley and striker Jabo Ibehre, who have missed the recent trips to Bradford and Penrith, he said: “Shaun had a slight collision in training and he rolled his ankle. He’s responded very well to treatment and the swelling and bruising has gone. 

“Shaun is a leader, he likes to defend and he gives us the ability to play two or three at the back. Everybody is still part of my thinking for this weekend and I would be confident in him being able to roll out a performance if he shows he can be involved.”

“Jabo jarred his knee so we’ve been looking after him and it has responded very well,” he continued. “He loves Carlisle and he loves playing his football here. His family and roots are down south but he’s a very committed individual. 

“He came up here and had a new lease of life last season, and he’s another who has enjoyed the environment. We know with where we are on the map it does make it difficult sometimes with players, but he knows he has a manager who looks after him. 

“If he needs time with his family he gets it, but he has to earn it. He’ll be touch and go for Saturday but I’m mindful of the fact I don’t want to be without him for a longer period. He might be with the squad, but we’ll need to decide whether or not he starts.

“One thing I can say is that I’m 100% confident he’ll be a Carlisle United player come the start of the season. Hopefully that will put a stop to the rumours and speculation that seem to surround him.”

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