Under 21s

Collins | ‘I’d like us to be braver’

5 min read

James Collins was pleased to come away from Derby County with a 2-1 victory in Premier League 2 on Monday, but admits he is keen to see his side be more braver in possession towards the end of games.

However, there were a number of positives to come from the encounter at the Loughborough University Stadium, including PL2 debuts for three under-16s, a goal for Fletcher Holman and opportunities for players who have had limited game time of late.

On the display across 90 minutes

“That’s the youngest we’ve been for years with three under-16s in the squad. On merit, but still needs must with the first-team having a few injuries over the last few weeks and some of ours have gone with them which is great.

“We knew it was going to be a tough night, so to get the result here tonight was a good achievement for the boys.

“I thought we played well in the first half for the majority and we probably deserved to be leading. One of the goals was a little bit fortunate but the other one was good pressing and good work.

“Second half, we’ve rode our luck a bit and they’ve had chances, although the goal we conceded was a fortuitous one. They did have chances and Jimmy (Storer) made some good saves.

“We put our bodies on the line and defended well, but I’d like us to play a little bit more football. I’d like us to be braver, courageous.

“Yes, the result matters, but not enough. We’ve got to play. I want to end games with us dictating the play, playing football, playing out from the back.”

On Fletcher Holman’s goal and performance

“The life of a striker is very difficult because you don’t get many kicks of the ball, you’re up the middle of the pitch, you’re pressing against two or three and it’s hard work.

“You’ve got to grab your small amount of moments and tonight, he scored his goal in one of his moments. That’s key, so credit to him.

“He’s got loads of improvement to come, loads to do, but when he’s started games for us he looks like scoring goals. I’m pleased for him because that will do his confidence the world of good.”

On the three under-16s coming on

“I thought they improved us. It’s easy saying that because it’s late on in the game, but I thought Wes (Okoduwa) was competitive and aggressive. He showed that he’ll go to war for us, and you need some of that when you’re going nearer to first-team football.

“Alvin (Ayman) was diligent with his defending and really intelligent with his positioning of where he was defending.

“Luke (Rawlings) handled the ball really well. He got us playing at the end, which we hadn’t been doing until he came on.

“They can all be pleased with their appearances and even if they hadn’t, it wasn’t for that. It’s great to see them on the pitch in a game that is a win or lose game, a competitive game, because academy football isn’t what it’s designed for.

“They’ve shown they’re ready to do a job for the team, willing to work to the tactics and they showed good ability. I’m delighted for the three of them.”

On players getting an opportunity

“I’m also delighted for some of the boys who haven’t had a lot of opportunity of late. Mason’s (Rees) trained really well this week and has been floating between the 18s and the 21s, and has missed out on a lot of football.

“I thought first half he was excellent in the role we gave him, tired a bit in the second half which is understandable.

“Tippo (Oliver Tipton) hasn’t been on the pitch for a long long while and he knows that he’s trying to build his career now, but that’s hard to do when you’re sitting back at a 21s group not in a team. I think he’s shown great professionalism and when he came on, he led the group and team like he hadn’t been away. I think that says a lot about him.

“They all stood up today. Of course, we could’ve played a little bit better but we had five or six on the pitch who haven’t played a lot of football lately.

“To come away from home in this league and win 2-1, I think we’re unbeaten in the league this calendar year, is nice and we’ve just got to be a bit more courageous with the ball.”

Back to News

Other News