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McCann On Healthy Squad Competition

15 January 2021

Grant McCann says that the players are pushing each other every day in training for a place in the Head Coach’s starting XI.

Heading into a busy run of fixtures, McCann has stressed the importance of squad rotation and healthy competition within the group.

“This is like no other season,” said McCann. “Anything can happen at any time. We could lose four or five players through no fault of our own because we follow the protocols really strictly around the training ground and stadium. 

“It’s important we have a strong squad and have healthy competition. And it’s important we have the right characters who understand that. 

“You can have a squad of 20 players and four of them rocking the boat because they’re not playing. We don’t have that here. We have players who all want to drive and push each other on the training ground and get in the team.”

One of the players looking to retain his place in the starting lineup is Alfie Jones. The versatile Tigers’ man has featured in every game so far in 2021 following his return from an injury sustained in early December, and McCann was quick to praise the 23-year-old.

“Alfie is a tremendous character,” he said. “He had a really good loan at Gillingham last season and before that at St Mirren in the Scottish Premiership. He’s has been outstanding and probably hasn’t played the games he deserves to play because of the form of Reece Burke and Richie Smallwood. He’s been fantastic and is versatile – centre-half, centre midfield and he even played right-back one game in the Papa John’s and didn’t look out of place. 

He’s a really calm, level-headed boy who works very hard every single day and gets on with his job. I described him as a Rolls Royce a few weeks ago and I stick by that – he just cruises through games. Nothing fazes him.”

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