Lee determined to prove any doubters wrong at Luton
Hatters midfielder Olly Lee is desperate to prove any doubters wrong at Kenilworth Road this season.
The 25-year-old had been withdrawn twice early on in recent games against Cambridge and Grimsby, with manager Nathan Jones publicly criticising the defensive aspect of his game.
However, with Glen Rea injured, Lee kept his place for the 2-0 defeat at Crawley Town on Saturday, playing the full 90 minutes.
Fronting up to the media afterwards, when asked about the recent early substitutions, he said: “We’ve all got a point to prove, there’s a lot of competition in the squad.
“The gaffer took me off in a couple of games and that’s part and parcel of football.
“I understand his decisions and I’ve got no problem with that.
“There’s a lot of competition between me and Glen and we both thrive on it.
“Certain games suit certain players. I know Glen is better at the defensive side and I like to think that I’m good at the passing side, to get us going.
“So, it’s horses for courses.”
Lee insisted he has no issues with Jones for speaking to the press as he did, and won’t let it affect his morale, as the former Birmingham player continued: “It’s in my nature, I don’t get down about it.
“There’s always another game and that’s the good thing about football. No-one’s going to keep me down.
“The gaffer is really good with me. He pulls you to one side after and speaks to you about it.
“I knew where I stood and whatever else is said, it doesn’t bother me.
“Me and the gaffer have a good relationship and that’s that.”
On just what he has been doing to beef up the uglier facets required by Jones, Lee said: “It’s a lot of headers for me, from the goalie’s kicks and stuff like that.
“I don’t quite enjoy it but I’m getting better at it and hopefully, come the end of the season, it’ll be good.
“It’s one-on-one training. I like going up against our front forward players, Pelly (Mpanzu) and Cam (McGeehan).
“You test yourself in training every day.
“Every day in training I try to go up against who I think is the best player and who is going to test me, they can only make you better.
“We all bounce off each other, we all want to improve and we’ve got such a good squad, you can’t help but get better every day.”
Lee was clearly out to prove he can mix it during Saturday’s defeat to Crawley, being booked after 20 minutes for bringing down Billy Clifford.
He said: “Hopefully people like that, I’ve got to win my headers and I’ve got to get stuck in. I know I’ve got to be better at that and I want to be better.
“The fans might want to see a bit, but I’m desperate to be better at that and I’ll work every single day at it. I’ve got no problem if people want to question it because I’ll prove them all wrong.
“I work every day. I know I’m not the greatest defender in the world but I’m working on it.
“League Two is difficult for me because sometimes it’s just heading it and kicking it and that’s not my style.
“But I’ve got no problem. I’ll work my nuts off for that and hopefully, come the end of the season, we’ll all be where we want to be.”
There’s every chance that Lee will stay in the side now after Rea suffered knee ligament damage in training last week.
Although disappointed for his team-mate, Lee is ready to stake his claim, saying: “You don’t want your chance from someone getting injured. I’m gutted for Glen because he’s been doing really well and me and him get on really well.
“We’re pushing each other and that’s better.
“That’s the only way anyone is going to get better.
“I’m gutted he got injured but you’ve got to take your chance and hopefully my chance will be there, so I can push on and prove to everyone just how good I am.”
Team-mate Alan Sheehan knows full well that Lee is putting the effort in to improve his game, adding: “Olly’s a good pro, he works really hard.
“He knows he’s got to work on his defensive side of the game, it’s more natural for Glen in there defensive wise, but Olly works hard and I’m sure he’ll be fine.”