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O'DRISCOLL: HENRY'S FUTURE MAY NOT BE AT LEFT-BACK

11 February 2016

Youngster has played further forward in recent weeks...

Head coach Sean O’Driscoll believes promising youngster Rico Henry may not actually end up a left-back.

The talented 18-year-old, a full-back by trade, has scored two goals in 29 appearances for the Saddlers this season.

In recent weeks, however, Henry has been deployed higher up the field in a left-sided midfield role, playing in front of the experienced Andy Taylor.

And O’Driscoll says playing the teenager in a more advanced position gives him more room for error as he continues his football education.

“Like most young players, he makes mistakes,” said O’Driscoll.

“If you’re further forward the mistakes are not so costly and playing in midfield, he can get his games in.

“He likes getting forward and is bright when he's on the ball.

“I’m not convinced he will end up being a left-back. But I've only had him for a short time.

"You can play young players in forward positions where a mistake is not so crucial.

"But you play a young defender or goalkeeper and every mistake seems to cost you.”

With Henry playing in left midfield, Slovakian winger Milan Lalkovic has found himself out of the team.

The 23-year-old is the Saddlers’ second top-scorer with seven goals but has only started one of our last five league and cup matches.

But O’Driscoll insists Lalkovic, who scored for Walsall’s development squad against Wigan on Tuesday, remains part of his plans.

“If we’re trying to add more firepower, Milan comes into the equation,” said O’Driscoll.

“When you analyse games, you try to play people when you think they can do well.

“Milan came in for the Doncaster game because in their previous games they’d played three at the back and I thought we’d be able to isolate Milan one-on-one with one of their defenders.

“Going into the game that’s how they’d been playing but then they lined up with a back four.

“He still did really well and he gives you a goal threat from the left-hand side.

“He’s still very much a part of the squad.”

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