Keith Curle on club captain Danny Grainger
Club captain Danny Grainger set the example on and off the pitch last season and he came in for some well deserved praise from his manager at the end of a campaign which saw the local born left back notch seven goals in just over 40 appearances.
“If you’d spoken to a lot of supporters 18 months ago and told them that Danny Grainger was going to be captain of your team and winning player of the year awards in abundance, and also showing community spirit in the way he has, I don’t think many would have believed it,” Curle said. "Closer to home I don’t even think some people at the club would have thought it was possible.
"Pleasingly, if you said to Danny Grainger himself that he was going to be club captain, and put a season in he could be this proud of, I’m sure he wouldn’t have believed it. That shows how things can happen if a bit of hard work and dedication are thrown in.”
“I think he’s matured, grown into a character and he’s worn that armband with pride,” he continued. “He’s represented the football club exceptionally well on and off the pitch. He’s been a real captain in the changing room and he’s been prepared to be honest and point the finger on those occasions when players haven’t been reaching the standards. You need that sometimes.
“I was never really a chest thumper or a growler when I was made captain but I was honest enough to be able to tell someone when they weren’t doing it. Sometimes it can be said in a monotone voice where it has more impact than if you’re screaming and shouting. Danny also has that quality.”
“Danny has been a leader during the training sessions as well,” he confirmed. “He takes the early part of the warm up and he gets the players up to speed before the session starts. He’s a big character in the dressing room but he knows when the joking has to stop and when it needs to be professional. He knows the cut-off point and the other players feed off that.
“If he’s in the team he’s shown good characteristics as a captain, and I don’t see why that should change next season. He knows I don’t owe him anything and I have to say that everything he’s achieved he’s earned. That won’t be any different for him or any of the others come August.
“From day one I saw ability in him. You couldn’t miss his accuracy and power with his left foot. He’s able to caress the ball and he’s a naturally gifted left-sided player. He was found wanting at times, because of his defending, but he’s adapted, adjusted, listened and learned and he’s a better player for it.
“He’s enjoying his football and he had a shift in mentality from the season before because he was one of the players we had who was going out there with a worry about making mistakes. He had a fear-factor about him and he wasn’t performing because of it.
“He came back last summer and we could see he’d started to believe in himself and he’s developed into the player we know he can be because of that. He’s now going out with the mentality of - this is what I do and this is what I’m about. It’s very good to see.”
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