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WHITNEY: PRESTON COPING WITH FIRST-TEAM DEMANDS

9 December 2016

Gaffer praises young centre-back...

Saddlers boss Jon Whitney is pleased with how young defender Matt Preston is starting to cope with the mental demands of first-team football. 

The Birmingham-born centre-back has featured in each of our last seven matches, helping us keep successive clean sheets against Southend and Sheffield United. 

“He has done really well,” said Whitney. “I have known Matty a long time and mentally he is now starting to cope with the demands of the game much better. 

“I see them day in, day out and speak to them day in, day out so my staff and I have a good idea when they are ready to cope with the pressures of a match day. 

“That is what comes with having a young group. “It’s all about trust and I trust that he will now come in and do a really good job. Credit to Matty, he deserves his run of games. 

“You have to play your game and apply your skills set within a heated environment. But you have got to enjoy it. 

“Matty came into the game quite late, so where he is now to where he came from, he has done exceptionally well. 

“He has got great potential physically and is one of the quickest we have got. Technically he is improving all the time. 

“But at centre-half it takes a lot of time. Tactically, I think it is one of the hardest positions, along with goalkeeper. 

“So if you can get young players in that position it shows how far they have come because there are going to be mistakes. 

“If you are a centre-back or goalkeeper, if you make a mistake it normally leads to a goal scoring opportunity – and it’s highlighted. 

“Whereas if a striker slips over the ball and gives it away, it doesn’t get noticed. 

“Mentally they have to be a little bit tougher but Matty has got that and he has got Jimmy [O’Connor] helping him out as well.”

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