Freeman thought he was going to have a 'dream' home debut for the Hatters only to be denied by Blues keeper Ruddy

Midfielder believed his early shot was creeping into the bottom corner

By Mike Simmonds
Monday, 1st August 2022, 11:33 am
Updated Thursday, 4th August 2022, 10:24 am
Luke Freeman saw this effort well saved by Birmingham keeper John Ruddy on Saturday
Luke Freeman saw this effort well saved by Birmingham keeper John Ruddy on Saturday

Midfielder Luke Freeman thought he was going to enjoy a ‘dream’ home debut for the Hatters against Birmingham City at the weekend with a goal on his maiden appearance for the club.

The 30-year-old signed on a free transfer this summer following his release from Sheffield United, was found by Jordan Clark after Allan Campbell had won the ball back with a crunching sliding challenge on Jordan James.

He went past defender Marc Roberts as if he wasn’t there, before going for the bottom corner on his fight foot, seeing a ow effort tipped round the post by former Wolves and Norwich stopper John Ruddy.

Freeman admitted he had thought it was going to give his side the best start possible, saying: “I did, I didn’t really catch it too well, but I thought I caught it enough to go in.

"I’ll have to watch it back, it seemed like quite a good save from him and those are the things you dream of, scoring on your home debut.

“It was one of those ones where the adrenaline is pumping, you’re at home with the home fans, I really enjoyed myself.

"I’m probably slightly a little bit off the fitness of the other lads as well, but having said that, I really enjoyed my time out there."

The midfielder also tried his luck from further out in the second period, unleashing a fierce drive on his trusty left foot this time which didn’t miss by too much, as he continued: “It was another one I thought I caught quite well.

"It was always probably serving away from the goal, but one of those ones you initially think has got a great chance as you hit it sweet and it’s certainly towards goal.

"These are things we’ll build on and we’ll definitely improve and hopefully they‘ll be into goals next time.”

Prior to both those attempts, Freeman had already caught the eye of Town’s supporters in the opening 10 minutes, one dazzling piece of skill taking him past three defenders as he looked dangerous whenever on the ball as Luton booked to build attacks through both him and Clark.

He was also impressive when taking corners from the Hatters’ right hand side as well, and was happy show the home fans exactly why boss Nathan Jones had been a long-time admirer of his talents, saying: “It’s different for everyone, you’ve just got to show what you’re capable of doing.

"It wasn’t something I’ve necessarily gone out there and thought, first 10, 15 minutes of the first half I need to show this, it’s just me playing my game.

"I need to be helping the team and if you can be a part of helping the 11 on the pitch then that’s the most important thing.

“I enjoyed my time out there, it felt good, the lads were good.

"I was probably due to only get 60, 70 minutes due to fitness., I’m slightly behind everyone else, so I enjoyed myself, and it was good to be a part of the team today.

“We’ve got some great delivery from both sides too, so it’s something we’ll do all we can to score and create chances from it.”

Discussing his performance, the Hatters chief was happy with the opening outing of his new addition, saying: “He looked lively and he’s had a real good week.

“He was a threat, and gets about, and he was a powerhouse.”

Although Town and Freeman couldn’t break through on the day, denied by some good stops from the experienced Ruddy who commanded his area imposingly, the former Arsenal youngster felt that with some more minutes under both his and his team-mates belts over the coming weeks, they will sharpen up in the final third of the pitch.

He adding: “I think so, the gaffer just touched on it, we’re probably a week or so behind everyone, but we all feel good.

"It’s one of those things, it’s natural for every footballer at this stage of the season, maybe you’re not 100 per cent firing on all cylinders, but we’re certainly showing what we’re capable of doing, so we’ll build on that, it’s back to the drawing board and it’s definitely positive.

“I thought he (Ruddy) was very good.

"He pulled off a couple of good saves, even from set-pieces, he was collecting balls that looked difficult, he was making them look very easy, so I thought he had a good game.

“It’s just typical start of the season rustiness, you’ll probably watch the highlights, they’ll be loads of that from every team playing over the weekend.

"But we’re really happy with the performance really, it’s unfortunate we didn’t get the three points, but we’ll look at it from a positive kind of reflection rather than a negative."