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INTERVIEW: Selection headaches are good for me

More from Chris Beech following the busy month of January

3 February 2020

United boss Chris Beech spoke more this weekend about the welcome selection headaches he now has following what was a very active and productive January transfer window.

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“I think I’ve said it before but selection problems are the kind of problems a manager wants,” he said. “I think that was proven on Saturday. If the squad wasn’t as strong as it was, I don’t think we’d get back in that game.

“What it gives us players who need to be pushing all the time, and I’ve told Gav Skelton I want him to organise a game every week, if possible, because I want the lads playing.

“The simple fact is that you can’t beat getting your shin pads on and playing a game. Sometimes the conditions of the games aren’t great, but even night games, local teams, the top academies that have all these pitches to choose from, I don’t really mind, I want games going on all the time.

“What we do is we train hard, we play, and then we’ll rest hard as we keep getting ready for games. That’s what you do to create your competitive environment. People might have raised an eyebrow at us getting another keeper, but getting Marcus [Dewhurst] in is excellent for me.

“He came in, signed, then trained, and he’s someone else who is there and pushing. It’s really good for me because players know that if they’re not at it, they’re going to change.”

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“The other thing with Marcus is that I wanted cover for if Colls gets injured. He’s our captain and number one keeper at the club, but there’s nothing to suggest that Marcus can’t challenge that, he can.

“I didn’t want Louis or Adam getting injured when the window is shut and only being left with one. I felt it was sensible business and it’s cost efficient, thanks to Sheffield United.

“Getting Omari on deadline day as well was good. I’ve been trying my best for the whole window to get centre forwards. I’ve had my eye on Joshua Kayode since before Xmas and I’ve had to be patient following that. It’s a difficult position to recruit for so it was good to get Omari sorted as well in the last hours.

“There were others where we made massive inroads and looked like we were getting close to completion, but for one reason or another they didn’t come off. These anomalies happen all the time and all you can do is keep making the calls until you get a player you know will add to what you’ve got into the building.

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“Omari is a great example because he was coming at 5pm on Friday, then he wasn’t, then there was a suggestion of a swap and I nearly fell off my seat for the one they asked for, so I said no to that. It was back on at 7pm, then off again, and the next thing he was on his way to the team hotel because we were sorted. It’s crazy really.”

The challenge for every player in the squad now, of course, is to put themselves in the frame for a starting shirt come 3pm on Saturday.

“Some players may have to be patient, but I’ll keep being adaptable and changing things if I think it’s necessary,” he told us. “I don’t think it would have been respectful to the players that gained that fantastic victory at Forest Green to change anybody for Saturday’s starting game.

“Looking at it after full time, in hindsight, you could say two or three changes might not have done us any harm. But if you’re a player that’s gone all in and brought the club a 4-1 victory, to then not play, I’d be miffed.

“So sticking with it was the right thing to do. Going forward I’ll do what I’ve always done and look tactically at our opponents and see who best fits.”


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