Justin determined to become a regular for Luton
Teenage full back James Justin is determined to do enough to prove to boss Nathan Jones that his stint in the first team won't be a fleeting one.
The 18-year-old made his full league debut for Luton during Saturday’s 3-1 win over Doncaster Rovers, impressing with his display on the right of Town’s defence.
Justin, who had been a regular member of Hatters’ all-conquering youth team last term, now wants to transfer that form to the first team stage.
He said: “It’s the manager’s decision, but hopefully I’ve done enough to stay in the team.
“I think there’s room for improvement, but I’m happy with my performance to be honest.
“The gaffer was always talking to us at the back end of last season, if you’re good enough you’ll get a chance, and hopefully he thinks I’m good enough so I get a chance and keep getting chances.
“He puts faith in me to be fair and hopefully I can reward him by picking me.”
Justin admitted he had an inkling he was playing during the week in training, and after playing against Aston Villa in the EFL Cup, didn’t suffer from any nerves.
He continued: “All the lads helped, there was no pressure, it was just go out there and be yourself, keep doing what you’re doing, it’ll come off in the game and it did luckily.
“During training we’ve been working on it so I just had to focus and make sure I took my chance.”
Justin was chosen in place of Stephen O’Donnell and admitted the Scot had been hugely helpful during the week, saying: “Yes, he’s been good in training still and given advice to me, he’s taken it like a champ to be fair.”
Boss Nathan Jones admitted it was no easy decision to leave out O’Donnell who had been a regular since taking over in January, missing just five minutes of action during the 2-1 win over Hartlepool in February.
He said: “Of course, because he’s started every single game for me since I’ve been here, but we have to have a competitive squad and there’s no guaranteed starters in anything that we do.
“We need that competition and if people push people then they have to be seen to be given opportunities and James has done that.”
When asked how he thought Justin did on his full debut, Jones said: “I think the kid has got a big future if he keeps doing the things he is.
“He deserves his chance because he’s really put it in, been defending well, training well and he’s got a great temperament.
“He’s a good kid and we really like him here, and here if they’re good enough it doesn’t make a difference to their age.
“He deserved his opportunity and he was excellent today, I’m proud of him.
“He’s got to keep working though as we’ve got some good competition now.”
Meanwhile, striker Jack Marriott added: “He did very well. We saw in the Villa game, he did really well and to play the way he did again, he’s backed it up and he’s going to be a very good player for us.”