Young midfielder Shandon Baptiste stands by for a home debut tonight when Oxford United welcome Coventry City in the Carabao Cup.
Grenada international Shandon, 20, was told by boss Karl Robinson yesterday to expect his first start at the Kassam Stadium.
“It’s always good to be involved” Shandon told iFollow. “I thought I had a decent pre-season and since then I’ve just trained really hard and if the Gaffer says I’m involved on Tuesday because of that then that’s great.”
Shandon starred in pre-season, both in his usual midfield position and in a slightly more advanced role.
“I enjoyed it” he said. “I helped with a lot of assists but I just wanted to show the Gaffer what I can do; I think I did that. There are a lot of new players here so you have to try and show that you are as good as them. It’s not easy to stay patient but the Gaffer is excellent with the younger players and you know that if you work hard then you will get your chance. A lot of people have said the Manager believes in young players and a lot of the players he has signed are my age, so that is a good thing.
“It’s always good to be able to play a few different positions too. I still see myself as a midfielder but if I’m asked to play further forward or out wide or wherever then that’s fine. If it helps me get in the team, and helps the team, then I’ll play anywhere.”
After a successful loan spell where he helped Hampton and Richmond Borough reach the play-offs last season Shandon is now looking to make the most of his opportunity with United:
“I had loans and playing first team football has been good. Obviously playing in the Conference and the lower leagues is not like the Premier League or Championship. You need to be in people’s faces and competitive and I think that was an important lesson. If I get a chance on Tuesday then I know I have to make the most of it: go out there, don’t be scared, and play my own game.”
See the full interview plus Karl Robinson’s thoughts on the game in iFollow now.
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