'Exemplary' Justin could be used in midfield by Hatters

Hatters defender James Justin
Hatters defender James Justin

Hatters youngster James Justin could be utilised in midfield on a more regular basis this season after an eye-catching cameo off the bench in midweek.

With Jack Stacey and Dan Potts appearing to be boss Nathan Jones’ first choice full backs, it means Justin has made just one start in the league so far this term, on the opening day of the campaign at Portsmouth, as he was was an unused substitute against Sunderland and Peterborough.

He did impress at left back in the Carabao Cup in the 1-0 defeat West Bromwich Albion, before an excellent 20 minute offering when replacing Jorge Grant in the 2-0 win over Southend on Tuesday night.

Jones admitted he has been left with a real selection headache over the 20-year-old, who was restricted to just 22 outings last term, saying: “It’s difficult, because in that position, not being disrespectful to anyone else around the club, we’ve got three who were coveted by higher level clubs.

“So it’s about making sure one, we pick the right team, two, we win games, three, that we keep everyone moving forward.

“With James, James has been very patient. He was unfortunate as we said, much publicised at the beginning of last season to have lost his place, but he’s been exemplary.

“He’s shown that he’s very adaptable in where he can play, right, left, he stepped up into midfield, that’s where we could actually utilise him a little bit more.

"We have three competing, three fantastic, young athletes, good players and that’s the kind of competition we want and the important thing is we keep them all moving forward in terms of their development.”

When Justin came on, Town were already 2-0 to the good on Tuesday, but he so nearly helped them add to the tally, setting up chances for both Andrew Shinnie and Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu with some wonderful vision.

Speaking after the game, Jones had said: “You have to say that when James Justin came on, we call them game changers and we put him on to be kind of a defensive help, but he proved to be one of the most potent attackers.

“He was magnificent and that’s why we call them game changers as he really did look a threat with his athleticism and that’s a credit to the kid.”

It certainly caught the eye of captain Glen Rea, who added: "He changed the game when he came on, he was causing havoc, but we know that.

"We’ve got a great squad and anyone that steps in and comes off the bench are going to do well."