Tom On The Ball

TOM Flanagan wants to play football – in more than one sense of the expression – and believes he has got the perfect manager to help him achieve that aim.

The 23-year-old Milton Keynes centre-back kicked off his month’s loan to the Pilgrims with a solid and pleasing display in Argyle’s 0-0 draw at Southend United, and enjoyed the change to his recent match-day routine.

“I don’t like sitting on the bench,” he said. “That’s the worst thing about being a footballer. 

“Everyone says they get paid this, get paid that, work until 12pm and all that, but when it comes to Saturday and everyone else is on the pitch, working their nuts off, and I’m just sat there, watching, it’s not fun – so get out and play games and progress my career.

“I’ve not played as much as I’d have liked at Milton Keynes. That’s purely down to how well they have been doing – before I left, they were 13 games unbeaten, so it was tough to get in the team.”

When John Sheridan picked up the ’phone to the Buckinghamshire club, things moved quickly, with Northern Ireland Under-21 international Tom eager to experience life under the Argyle manager.

He said: “Everywhere he’s been, he’s always like to play football and I like to play football myself, so it sort of makes sense.

“Plymouth got in contact with Milton Keynes and showed an interest. I jumped at the opportunity, really. I had a couple of other offers but the way that Plymouth likes to play suits me so it was a good idea. I met with the boys [on Friday] night at the hotel – it was as quick as that. They don’t tell you everything at football clubs but I’d been told.”

Hours later, he became the 1,011th player to pull on the Green.

“It’s not that easy,” he said, “but in a strange way, it’s a little bit easier, being a defender because you see everything; whereas, maybe if I was a midfielder, I don’t know what’s going on behind me. 

“It wasn’t too bad; it was literally just getting myself through the game and trying to impress the manager and win the boys over – I’ve played with loan players before and, when they first walk in, you are a little bit sceptical because you don’t know what they are going to be like.

“I had quite a lot to prove and I felt I did okay. I was a little bit tired towards the end but that’s just lack of games – I’ll be alright.”