Hatters boss John Still admitted he wouldn’t be worried about picking young starlet Jack Marriott ahead of some of his big name strikers this season.
The 20-year-old has impressed greatly since joining, netting six times in pre-season and then a clinical double during Tuesday night’s 3-1 Capital One Cup win over Bristol City.
“I don’t worry about reputation, I couldn’t care less, the best players play.”John Still
However, with Craig Mackail Smith one of Luton’s big name signings, plus Paul Benson and Josh McQuoid all pushing for a place against Oxford United tomorrow, Still said: “With the greatest respect to Craig or Paul or Josh, it’s who’s plays best.
“When they’re here, age, reputation, experience, only counts if you are as good as someone else although that will change throughout the season.
“In the promotion season, Andre (Gray) didn’t start the season, because he wasn’t playing as well as he could. I don’t worry about reputation, I couldn’t care less, the best players play.”
Although Still admitted he had been surprised just how well Marriott has adapted to life at Kenilworth Road, he do add a note of caution over expecting too much too soon.
The boss continued: “He’s come in and is probably a bit further advanced than I thought he might be. That’s down to his character because he doesn’t want to be content to be behind everyone, he wants to be up with everybody, and he’s shown that he is.
“Jack’s at the stage where he needs to compete for a place, but with young players, you have to be careful, you can’t give them too much too early.”
Still also revealed that had former striker Ricky Miller not been released after a breach of club discipline, then it was touch and go whether he would have snapped up Marriott after his release from Ipswich, adding: “I’ve liked Jack for about 18 months now. I first saw him play for Ipswich and he was quite young, but he was busy and lively and bright.
“I always kept my eye on him and he ended up playing for Woking against us and did all right. I watched him when he went back to Ipswich and as soon as the season ended I had my eye on that particular situation when we realised he would be available.
“We brought him in and I think I’ve got a reasonable eye for forwards. It’s funny how it works though, would we have brought him in if Ricky Miller hadn’t had the problem he had?
“We might have done because I really liked him, but we liked Ricky too, we thought this year Ricky would do all right, we really did.”