Pelly shows just why Luton were so keen to keep him

Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu is helped to his feet after playing a starring role against Mansfield
Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu is helped to his feet after playing a starring role against Mansfield

Hatters boss Nathan Jones felt midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu showed just why the club were so keen to keep him with a marvellous display against Mansfield on Easter Monday.

The 24-year-old was brought back into the side for his first start since the 4-0 defeat at Port Vale on December 30 and justified that decision, producing a fine performance.

Hatters boss Nathan Jones with a hug for his midfielder

Hatters boss Nathan Jones with a hug for his midfielder

Playing in a more advanced position due to Alan McCormack taking the holding role, Jones hailed the bravery shown by the ex-West Ham youngster, as he said: “He’s had some wonderful performances here, he really has, he’s an important player.

“We’ve turned down a lot of money for Pelly Ruddock because we believe in him.

“We believe in what he can do, and it’s just adding that consistency to him.

“We took the shackles off him, we said we needed his power, his pace, his strength and he was wonderful for me.

We’ve turned down a lot of money for Pelly Ruddock because we believe in him.

Nathan Jones

“The thing is, no matter how he’s playing, he’s a brave kid, he really is.”

On why he opted to bring Mpanzu back against Stags, Jones continued: “These are a big, strong powerful side.

“When they play, they press you, they go after you and they’re in your face.

“We felt we’ve been a little bit lightweight lately and we’ve got some wonderful footballers, Andrew Shinnie and people like that are wonderful, wonderful footballers.

“But when the pitches are heavy and so on, we need something different, so we asked something of Pelly and I thought he was outstanding.

“His diligence in training has been wonderful and then to put the performance in he did was fantastic.”

Mpanzu was directly responsible for the Hatters getting back on level terms too, driving through the Stags defence to set up James Collins for an equaliser.

Jones added: “We don’t play with wingers who go at people, but he’s a brave one, he gets on it, he’s powerful.

“He had a few little jinks then put it in and Johnny on the spot was there to tap it in.”

Mpanzu himself confirmed he had never looked to leave Town despite the club receiving offers combined with his lack of action, saying: “Speculation is always going to be there, it’s part and parcel of football.

“You’ve got to keep your head down, people are going to talk, but you’ve got to focus on the team you’re with now and that’s Luton Town and promotion is what we need right now.

“I’ve been here for a while, I’m the longest serving, so I’ve just got to keep focused on Luton Town.”