Hatters full back James Justin hasn’t been handed a long term deal in order to protect him from other clubs attempting to prise him away from Kenilworth Road according to boss Nathan Jones.
The 18-year-old signed a contract until the summer of 2019 in the week, capping what has been an excellent breakthrough term so far, making 14 appearances after being part of the youth team this time last season.
We’re not looking to tie him down so we can move him on to anyone else, we want him to move forward with Luton.Nathan Jones
Jones is now looking to make sure it’s Luton who will reap the benefit from the youngster’s continued improvement, saying: “What we’ve done is we’ve just secured his future with Luton so he can move forward with Luton, that’s what we’re looking to do.
“We’re not looking to tie him down so we can move him on to anyone else, we want him to move forward with Luton.
“We think he’s at an age where if he’s playing first team football for the next three, four, five years, then that will be the main thing for him.
“There’s plenty more progression for him, he’s shown that he can be a talent, but he’s just got to keep going and we’re delighted to have him here.”
When asked if he thought Justin had the ability to play at the top level in the future, Jones continued: “Yes. Look, without giving you a quote or a headline, of course, he’s an 18-year-old young player, playing in Luton’s first team.
“Luton’s a big club, the way we play, how we do stuff, he’s getting a real good learning good curve here.
“Then if he continues that he has every opportunity because he’s athletic, he wants to do well, he’s diligent, very conscientious in his work, so he has a bright future if he wants it.
“He’ll have to keep working hard, have a little bit of luck along the way, but what we hope is, that he keeps moving forward.”
Justin was deployed in a different role during last weekend’s 2-0 win at Blackpool, chosen ahead of Jack Senior in a left wingback position, with Senior among the substitutes.
On why he opeted go with Justin, who has been used primarily as a full back so far, Jones added: “He had a bit more experience and it would have been a real tough debut for Jack, not that he can’t do it.
“If it had been home it might have been a different decision. But in terms of away from home in the form they (Blackpool) were in, we just felt we needed a little bit more security wise and we felt it would have been a big ask putting Jack in.
“I would have had no problem doing it, but with the options we’ve got, it meant I made a calculated decision and James was excellent.
“So in hindsight it was the right decision and at the time we made it for the right reasons.
“But we believe in Jack, we really do. We brought him here, we’re delighted to have him here and we think he’ll be a good player for us.”