Beyond The Fringe

AFTER watching his fringe players perform in a development fixture during midweek...

...John Sheridan had some words of advice for players that are trying to develop their careers and earn a first-team place at Argyle.

John watched on as an Argyle development XI played Portsmouth on Tuesday and played out a 3-3 draw, including a brace from Tyler Harvey and a goal for Marvin Morgan – but the boss was much more interested with other aspects of his players’ performances.

“I do not just look at players scoring goals,” said Sheridan. “I look their all-round performance: how they lead the line, how they regain possession, how they keep the ball, how they make recovery runs. I don't think anybody else watches that. 

“That is what I watch, and that is what I need in my team. We have got a shape about us, and I think our shape is alright, so I look at other things.

“I watched every minute of the game. I was sat with someone who knows the game very well at that level. 

“He was picking people out that he did not even know that well and saying: ‘why is he not doing that?’ I am saying ‘that is why he is not in the team.’ I did not have to tell him why they were not in the team, but he was picking them out before I even mentioned anything. 

“People can look at look at other things, whatever they feel like, but I am the manager and I pick the team. I will stick to my guns and pick the team and players that I think are right."

Sheridan specifically opened up about the role he wants central midfielders to play in his team – a position he knows very well, after making an established domestic and international career out of committed, strong performances in the middle of the park.

“If you are a midfield player, go and play in midfield, not down the left wing or right wing,” he said. 

“Get involved and be competitive, like Conor Hourihane was every day of the week. That is why he probably got his move. He had this attitude of ‘I want to be good, and I want to be better’. That is why you are going to be successful as player. 

“Be selfish as a player. I was selfish as a player. At the end of the day it is a team game, and I had a lot of good players around me, but I was selfish as a player; I always wanted to look after myself and be the best player, or try and be the best player. That is a mentality. 

“That is why good players are good players, and that is why they play at the highest level. You have to work at it a lot harder at this level.”

Whilst John knows full well that making an impression as a substitute is no easy task, he is eager to see his squad players make a real difference on the pitch when he decides to give them the opportunity. 

Said John: “I do not think any subs have really lit the game up, and this is not being harsh on the players I bring on – I understand it is difficult when you are bringing someone on for 10 or 15 minutes – but none of the subs have really excited me. 

“They need to have that desire to come on and try and change the game, and I do not think any of them have done that when I have brought them on.”