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MANAGER: He’s one of those lads who’s taken to it very well

Keith Millen on Jack Ellis

28 January 2022

Second-year defender Jack Ellis became the latest club youth product to sign a professional deal this week and manager Keith Millen confirmed that it’s a contract that has been earned following an excellent few months around the first-team environment.

“He’s a lad that has developed very quickly in the last four months,” he said. “He’s almost outgrown the under-18 set-up.

“When I get the report from the youth games, every game he’s the outstanding player, it was almost too easy for him.

“We have tried to integrate him into training before Christmas period so I could have a look at him more. It’s always a good sign when a young player can come into the first team and cope with the change in tempo and intensity.

“He’s one of those lads who’s taken to it very well. When I saw that, we discussed it as a club, and that’s why we’ve made him the offer. He trains with the first team and holds his own.

“We have to look now at what’s best for him through the next four months. He might be one we look at getting out on loan, if he can’t get into the first team here. That’s what we’re maybe looking at doing with him.”

“We’ve done that with Josh Dixon,” he continued. “I said to the lad, it’s not about where you go and how you play, it’s purely go somewhere where they will give you a chance and get some game time, and try to get some belief and trust in his body, that he can cope playing.

“He hasn’t played on a Saturday for a long, long time. It’s more psychological sometimes, that you have to build up that belief, that you can trust your body to play.

“That’s why I said to him, you need to go and play, I don’t really mind where or what level. He’s probably a better player than the level he’s going but hopefully they will give him game time, and all I’m worried about is him getting through 90 minutes, week in, week out, and then all of a sudden he’s off and running again.”

“We are still looking at possible loans for other younger players,” he added. “The keeper situation is a difficult one because they’re both very good keepers, but we’ve only got one youth team game a week, sometimes not even one.

“We would like to try and get one of them out on loan and the other one maybe playing for the youth team, and in an ideal world maybe switch them round.

“It’s difficult with goalkeepers, difficult to get young keepers out on loan. Normally teams have their goalkeeper, it’s not like you normally chop and change that position often.

“Unless somebody picks up an injury to their keeper, it’s difficult to push a young lad like we’ve got. We’d like to do it, and if we can’t do it, it’s good that they work with the first team most days anyway.

“It won’t be the end of the world if we don’t get them out.”

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