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Interviews

INTERVIEW: It's the best dressing room I've been in

Callum Guy on team spirit and on when something just feels right

30 January 2021

Sometimes, and for whatever the reason may be, a dressing room comes together and it just clicks.

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And when it happens, it becomes a joy to see as people bounce of each other and, even through tougher times, work hard together to find a way past whatever it is that’s been put in their way.

It’s no coincidence that the feel-good factor around the club has grown and developed at the same rate as the squad this season, with every player interviewed confirming that it feels like ‘something special’ could well be in the offing.

Midfielder Callum Guy was the latest to hang his colours to that particular mast when we spoke to him on Wednesday morning.

“It’s definitely top of the pile of the dressing rooms I’ve been in,” he insisted. “It’s like being mates at school, that’s what it feels like.

“Everyone is great, there isn’t one person who pushes themselves to the top, we’re all really good mates. You can talk to anybody, and anybody can sit and talk to you. There’s no divide, which you sometimes get, because it’s all about being friends and helping each other.

“I think you can see by the results we’re getting that we all want the same thing. Off the pitch you have Rhys doing stuff, Omari doing stuff, and Nick now has us all bringing food in each week, and it’s just really nice and positive to be around a club like this.

“It’s a club that’s definitely on the up. The fans are amazing, they’re always messaging on Twitter and on Tuesday morning we could see how excited they were for the game. Then, when it was off, you could see how disappointed they were, and you understand that because this is their getaway card as well.

“They like to drop everything and watch us play, so it’s bound to knock everybody when it doesn’t happen. The way they’re getting behind us on social media is exceptional. You really do feel loved at this club, it’s a really positive place to be.

“Everyone has been absolutely amazing because the support is there for the lads before and after games. Even when we haven’t picked up any points in some games they’ve still been there, and we feel really appreciated.

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“There’s a massive feel-good factor at the club and everyone wants to be part of it. With Rhys and JJ staying when they’ve had opportunities to go to higher leagues, it shows the bond we all have. It’s really strong and nobody wants to miss the rest of the season because we want to end it together.

“With JJ, he had the opportunity to go higher, which he’s never done before, and he’s turned that down to stay here. The players showed so much support to him in the changing room when he was contemplating stuff, and the fans did that as well on social media.

“They had their say on what they wanted him to do, and JJ knows that the gaffer and players feel the same. Thankfully he took that all in and he stayed.”

For Callum, on a personal level, his performances have seen him top the positive stats charts and pick up player of the month nominations following a string of highly consistent and impressive performances.

“It’s very nice to be nominated, I’ve never had it before,” he admitted. “Getting a couple in one month is nice to be recognised for the hard work I’m putting in and it shows that it’s paying off.

“The stats are nice to see, and thanks for putting it out there. You want people to be talking about you and you want to be doing well as an individual and as a team.

“When you see stuff like that it shows the hard work you’ve put in, particularly having been injured in the off-season and having no one to work with on that. To get back to being fit by myself and to have the season I’m having is really good.

“Overall I think this season is right up there with some of the best football I’ve played. It’s obviously nice to get a run of games, I think I’ve played 25 this season and I’ve been injury free so far. It’s good to have that behind you and with 25 games still to go hopefully I can be a part of the majority of them and kick on.

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"I’d also say it’s probably been the most enjoyable of my career so far. The way we’re playing, the way the lads are with each other, learning off the gaffer … he’s been absolutely outstanding from the start, since he came in last year.

“He brought me here and he’s been unbelievable to work with. The group he’s recruited this season have been second to none and we all get along really well. I know everyone says that, but the togetherness in the squad is exceptional and I think that shows out on the pitch.”

Along with the good feeling at work comes the excellent news that the Guy clan will be adding another little Blue to the mix in approximately seven weeks’ time.

“I’m growing a family now and I have another little one due soon,” he told us. “That’s nice, and we have Ava growing up and she’s becoming a handful now.

“It’s lovely to go home and have all that to go to, and my missus is amazing for me as well. She looks after me and makes sure I eat the right things, and stuff like that, and it’s just superb to have this kind of support at home.”

Back to football matters, and does the settled feeling come down to this being a club that just ‘fits’ the way he wants to do things?

“Yeah, absolutely,” he agreed. “When I first signed I knew as soon as I spoke to the gaffer that it was a no-brainer. I knew I wanted to play for him and the way he does things really suits me.

“At first I was meant to be a bit higher up on the pitch, but he put me in a deeper role and I feel like it’s something I’ve excelled in. I feel like I’m contributing to the team and the work I do means the attacking players can get on with what they need to do.

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“We have players like Omari who is flying at the moment, he’s scoring goals and obviously I’m really close with him, so it’s nice to see.

“Knowing the gaffer believes in what I can go is one of the mains things for me as a player. You want to know that your manager trusts you because it gives you all of the right boundaries where you can get out and do what you need to do on the pitch.

“You know you’re not just in the team for the sake of it and I think everybody in this squad knows that they’re here because he wants them here. Absolutely anyone can start at any time because he believes they’ll do the job.

“He shows us all that he trusts us and the performances we give for him show that he’s right to do that. I’m really thankful for the way it’s all gone and it’s nice to be part of something like this.”

With every player echoing the same message, we asked if there was anything in particular the manager was doing to create such a positive working environment.

“It’s his man-management skills, he’s definitely the best I’ve worked with so far,” he replied. “He just creates a really good feeling in the changing room. He’s a manager you can go and talk to and he’s just really positive about everything.

“The recruitment work he did before the season started to make sure he got the right personnel was really good. You can get players who are really effective on the pitch but they have the wrong attitude.

“He’s made sure he’s got good players and good people and that’s showing through now. There’s nobody who thinks they’re too big for us and everyone is on exactly the same playing field.”

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Our final subject of a fascinating chat was another which is very close to his heart – set pieces.

“They’re a good chance to get assists and a good chance for the team to score goals,” he said. “The gaffer talks all the time about how important they are, for and against, and when you’ve got lads who are going to get on the end of them when you put them in, it makes it even better.

“You know that all you need to do is put it in there and somebody will attack it with everything they’ve got. Thankfully it’s worked quite a few times this season.

“Is it as good as me scoring when someone puts one of my assists away - I wouldn’t know! As long as the ball goes in the back of the net somehow I don’t really mind.

“Goals are definitely something I need to improve on and it’s the part of my game I need to start adding to. But, it is a fact, it doesn’t matter who scores as long as we’re getting the results and wins.”

Amen to that!


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