Luton Town boss Nathan Jones has praised midfielder Cameron McGeehan’s desire to carve out a career for himself ahead of his expected 100th appearance for the club at the weekend.
McGeehan should reach the milestone at the tender age of 21 when Hatters take the field at Exeter City on Saturday.
It could have been a lot different for the youngster, who won the FA Youth Cup while at then Premier League side Norwich City, with a number of his peers seemingly content to pick up their pay packets at a top flight club, only to eventually disappear from the game.
However, that’s never been the case for McGeehan as he sought a loan move away from Carrow Road to gain senior experience, catching the eye of former Hatters boss John Still, who signed him for a month at first, with his debut the 3-0 win over Nuneaton on January 25, 2014, aged 19.
McGeehan stayed until the end of the season, then had a brief spell at Cambridge the following campaign, playing against the Hatters and an FA Cup tie at Manchester United, before heading back to Kenilworth Road on loan, making the move permanent in June 2015.
Speaking about McGeehan’s determination to make a name for himself, Jones said: “It’s excellent and it’s all about games.
“What we preach here is that it’s about games and there are players that at different Premier League clubs that will be older than Cameron that will have never played a league game.
“Yes they will be financially very well off, but would never have played a league game.
“But what we preach here is there’s a pathway, and it’s all about league games, your career is about your games.”
Despite opting to drop out of the top flight to establish himself as a footballer, Jones has no doubt that McGeehan undoubtedly possesses the talent to return there one day, saying: “Cameron’s one that’s left the comforts of a higher league club, to come here, to an excellent club to ply his trade and to play football.
He’s come here and he’s played games and he’s good enough to go on and play at a higher level, we hope it’s with Luton.Nathan Jones
“One way or another Cameron will arrive back at where he started, no danger about that.
“But he’s been bold and brave and taken that step to play games and he’s played a fantastic amount, 100 at his age is a real good haul.
“We believe and preach, that money and the contracts will come if you have that desire to do well.
“You see a lot at higher level, a vast, vast, vast majority of young players at top, top clubs, don’t make it and then a big majority of those, get lost so they don’t even play league football.
“He hasn’t. He’s come here and he’s played games and he’s good enough to go on and play at a higher level, we hope it’s with Luton, that’s our desire and that’s what we want.”
Meanwhile, in his 99 games so far, McGeehan has notched 29 goals for Town, which is no mean feat in itself.
However, it gets even better if you factor in that he took 12 matches to get off the mark, scoring in the 1-0 win over Aldershot, before netting just six times in his first 33 matches.
That means his next 23 have come in 67 appearances, at an average of one every 2.91 matches, as Jones added: “It’s phenomenal, it’s not far off one in three.
“For a young player, from midfield, who hasn’t always played in a central attacking role, it’s fantastic, but that’s the desire he has.”