MIKE FLYNN SAYS: Jamie and Tony show value of youth and experience
10:02am Saturday 12th October 2013 in Latest Football
AFTER our fantastic win at Crawley I wanted to pay tribute to two of our players at the opposite ends of their careers – Jamie Stephens and Tony James.
A lot of people knock the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy but there is a Wembley trip at the end of it for two teams and it’s also important to keep the winning momentum going.
And it is beneficial for some of the players who needed minutes on the pitch.
We’re not in a reserve league or anything and the Trophy gives the gaffer the opportunity to look at all the players in the squad.
Jamie is only 20 but he’s an outstanding goalkeeper and I really think he can go to the top if he keeps improving.
People make mistakes, especially at that age, but for the first goal he made a brilliant save and we should have helped him out better.
The second goal was a bad one but he’s not fazed by that. He made some super saves to keep us ahead at the end of the game on Tuesday and he’s a good kid who wants to keep learning.
Hopefully he will go all the way because he has definitely got the ability to do it.
He’s got the perfect grounding from Liverpool and when you’ve got a manager like Rafa Benitez spending money on you then it says it all.
He could have stayed at Liverpool but he wanted to play and that shows you what sort of character he is.
He doesn’t say much about his Liverpool days. He’s quite a quiet lad but we do try to tease it out of him sometimes.
When he goes down for dinner a couple of the boys will tell him ‘Reina wouldn’t be eating that’ and ‘Reina wouldn’t do that’ but he’s a down to earth guy and he takes it all well.
And I’ve got to say happy birthday to Tony this week as well as he turned 50.
Not really, of course, he was 35 on Wednesday and it was a nice honour for him to wear the captain’s armband on Tuesday.
I’ve got a lot of respect for Tony. He’s a great professional and to be still playing at his age is testament to that.
Anyone who plays on beyond 32 in the current game with it being so fast has got to look after themselves and he’s really dedicated to being the best he can be.
He lost his dad last year, as a lot of people know, but he put everyone else first and that just shows what a top gut he is.
I take my hat off to him and hopefully I can stick around for a few more years like him.
Another player who was in the thick of the action against Crawley was Robbie Willmott, who I wrote about last week.
There was an incident at the end when we thought Robbie was getting bullied by the ball boy so me and Pipey ran over and he was on the floor.
He knew exactly what he was doing, he was winding up the crowd after the sub kicked out at him.
They’d already put three subs on so I don’t know what he was doing there so I’ve got no sympathy for Crawley.
I enjoy it when he’s getting booed by the opposition fans because it generally means he’s done something right for us.
And, like I said last week, he’s got the talent to cause every defence in the league problems and I hope he stays in top form.
I was happy with the way I played as well but as long as the team are winning I put my performance second. The result is the most important and we showed great character to come back and win against a very good League One team.
It sets us up nicely for what will be another tough trip for today’s League Two match at Rochdale.
We stayed overnight on the way up so we should be well rested and looking for a win in our third away game of the week.
In all honesty I swap the cup win for three points at Rochdale but hopefully we can get both.
If we win this one it will have been an outstanding week and one we can really build on.
Finally I have to have my say on the madness going on at Cardiff City.
I think it is a farce. Malky Mackay has done an outstanding job. A lot of managers have tried and failed to get Cardiff into the Premier League but he’s done it.
And not only that, they beat Man City and they’re going really well.
I know it’s early doors but if it’s not broke don’t fix it is my advice.
I don’t know the ins and outs of the situation but putting in a 23-year-old with no experience in place of your head of recruitment is asking for trouble.
The last guy did some really good deals to bring in the likes of Steven Caulker and Gary Medel and to get rid of him seems madness to me.
It’s a puzzling one and it really undermines Malky but hopefully it doesn’t end up costing them too much because having two Welsh clubs in the Premier League can only be good for football in this country.
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