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Interviews

INTERVIEW: It's a good place to be

Luke Plange on his loan move to Cumbria

2 August 2023

Interviews

INTERVIEW: It's a good place to be

Luke Plange on his loan move to Cumbria

2 August 2023

Forward Luke Plange was thrown straight into the mix on Monday morning with a whirlwind of paperwork, medicals and media duties followed by his first training session with his new teammates shortly after the ink had dried on his loan agreement from Palace.

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“It’s good to be here,” he told us. “Watching the success from last season it made me very keen on coming here and trying to get straight into the team. Hopefully I’ll do as well as I can in League One.

“I watched some of the games, against Bradford and Stockport in the final, and they looked like a really good team. They worked well together as players and it was good to watch, and I’m looking forward to being part of it.

“I had a couple of experiences of loan moves last season, abroad and in League One, and I’m looking forward to getting ready and getting going with this one as well.”

“It was one where I was made aware of the interest quite early doors really,” he explained. “I’ve been speaking to them over the time and I’m glad that it’s finally settled. I’m really glad to be here.

“It’s a club where I think I’ll feel comfortable and that I’ll do well with. I think that comes down to just the club in general. It’s feels close and together.

“Like I say, watching them on TV at the end of last season helped me to make my decision. It’s the way the club is, the manager, it’s a really good club.”

On what his parent club have said about the move, he said: “They’ve told me to come here and do as well as I possibly can.

“They want me to help the team get as high as it can up the league, into mid-table or even higher than that.

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“I spoke to Simmo and I’m just here to do my job and score goals. I’ll be doing what I can for the team so that means I’ll be doing as well as I possibly can for me as well.

“There were other options and things to think about, but it was more about coming to a team that I felt I could fit into. Speaking to Simmo helped me to make the decision.”

An obvious outlet for information is fellow Palace striker JK Gordon, who enjoyed a season-long stay with the Blues last term.

“I spoke to him and he said it was really good here,” he confirmed. “He told me he’d had a good experience, especially winning the promotion and everything that went with it.

“He only had good things to say. He had a very good time when he was here. He said he got to know the players and the manager really well and that he fitted in right away.

“I’ve heard about the dressing room and how some of the lads are, and all I’ve been told is good things. They seem to be really good together, and that’s probably the main thing I’ve been told about how things are here.

“I now just want to do as well as I can for the team. I want us all to do as well as we possibly can in the season.”

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Now for the most difficult question – how would he describe himself as a player?

“I like to be versatile as a player,” he responded. “I like to run in behind a lot, I make different types of runs, I take players on when I can and I like to link things up.

“I’d probably say that I’m the type of striker who is in and around the box and I can finish it off with my left or right foot. I have a bit of pace, so I want to cause problems for defenders that way as well.

“I think I can bring a lot to the team. I like to have an impact on the game and I just want to do as well as I can. I like making runs, shooting, scoring goals, so that’s what I want to do.

“I’m buzzing about being here to be perfectly honest. I just want to get going and get out on the pitch.

“The manager here has just really told me to do my thing. He wants me to be confident and score goals basically, because that’s my job.”

A player with a fantastic football upbringing, his formative years couldn’t have been any better with him being snapped up by the club he dreamed of being part of at the tender age of eight.

“I am an Arsenal fan so it was great to be with the club I supported,” he said. “I was there for close to 10 years in the end and I learned a lot through all the years I was there, from when I was eight to about 18.

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“There were a lot of different experiences over that time which were really good for me. Then the move to Derby came and I loved it there. That was another very good experience.

“It was a tough time for them that season, with the points deduction and everything else that was going on, but all of the young players just came together and we worked our socks off despite all that. I felt that we did well.

“Obviously I got to work with Wayne Rooney. All strikers dream of working with someone like him. He was one of the best, so it was great to be able to do that. He helped me individually a lot, and it was all about trying to become a better striker.

“I think it helped me grow as a person as well. I had to become more of a grown up because I had to become more independent and look after myself. I was away from home, and that meant I got to learn new things. I think it helped me to become a bit stronger in terms of my mentality.”

The opportunity to ply his trade in Europe, with Molenbeek, was one he couldn’t pass up.

“Going to Belgium was the type of move that was going to give me a completely different type of experience,” he told us. “I had a great time over there.

“Again, it helped me grow even more as a player. I had to deal with the language barrier and bond with players from all around the world, and it was a totally different culture and way of life. It was brilliant to do it.

“With Lincoln, I think it was just a learning period for me really. It was me getting to know the league because it was my first time being in League One. It was a new experience, and it was about growth for me personally.”

All of that, of course, is in the past as he now waits to don the blue jersey for the first time.

“There’s a lot of momentum from what happened last season as we go into this one and I’m just ready to get going,” he told us. I’m really excited and I want to get going now I’m here.

“I’ve seen that the fans are raring to go and I really do just want to do as well as I can for them. Training with Palace has been good, I’m fit now, I’m match fit and ready, I’ve had some games, and it all feels good. I just want to get on with it.”


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