Southampton defender Dynel Simeu was a welcome addition to the squad this week and with two training sessions under the belt already, manager Keith Millen spoke again at his Thursday afternoon press conference about how pleased he was to get the loan deal over the line.
“He’s one we recognised very early on and it’s one I’ve done a lot of work on,” he said. “I’ve travelled to meet him and we were hopeful that it would come good.
“At one stage he was involved with the first-team in the FA Cup at Southampton and the concern after that was that they wouldn’t let him go.
“Luckily they’ve decided they want him to go out and try to earn some game time, and they alerted us to that, so I’m delighted to get the deal done.
“He’s had a great upbringing and he’s had a big move to Southampton, and they think very highly of him. Hopefully he’ll add something a little bit different and he’s one who is comfortable playing left or right. That’s a big plus and it gives us competition for both sides.”
Having targeted the player since well before Christmas, he added: “I saw him and straight away, when you see him as a person, he has a great physique about him and a great presence about him.
“That’s the first thing you notice. Then you have to look into it more, the details of what he is as a player. I watched a lot of videos, I went down to Southampton twice to see him live and he ticks a lot of boxes, in his game.
“When I saw him at Southampton he played on the left, he’s predominantly right-footed but is one of these centre halves who’s comfortable on the left as well. That’s a big thing that he can compete for both sides.
“I know what it’s like as a centre-half; sometimes some defenders struggle, a right-footer on the left or vice-versa, they find it very difficult. The fact he’s comfortable both sides was a big help.
“Since then I’ve met him twice, really like him as a lad, when you look at his background, Chelsea, Southampton, he’s very humble, wants to learn, just wants to get better.
“Once I’d met him I was clear I’d ty and do everything I can to get him here. It’s been a lot of work, trying to convince him first of all, then trying to convince Southampton it was right for him.
“When Southampton gave him the all-clear to go out on loan I went and met him again to try and convince him. For someone to come from Southampton to Carlisle is a big ask.
“I’d like to think he’s come here because I can help him become better. I’ve got to work with him, and I think he’ll really help us.
“Him not having done this before is a question mark, of course it is, but I do feel having seen him and having spoken to him that he’s ready, and it’s clear that he likes to defend. That’s hopefully what we’ll see.”
Loan deals can often bring speculation that players have guaranteed pitch time, but the Carlisle boss confirmed that isn’t the case.
“I wouldn’t make that kind of guarantee,” he explained. “Southampton obviously want him to play games, that’s why he’s here.
“He has to fight for his place, and then he has to perform. If he doesn’t perform, like anyone, there’s no reason that I have to keep him in the team.
“I’ll keep Southampton up to date on his progression. That might be part of his learning over the next 20 games. I’m hoping he’s going to come in, he’s trained with us now for two days and settled in well, competing.
“It’ll be down to him, like all of them, to play well and keep their shirts. You want competition for places, but also we are short now.
“Jonathan Dinzeyi went back to Arsenal, Kelvin is injured, he’s out for a long time, when you look how many defenders we’ve got, we’ve not got a load.
“We are definitely short but it’s more the competition for places and bringing in quality that’s going to improve us, and that’s what Dynel will do.”