Frustrated Gambin knows Malta call-ups are disrupting his Town career

Luke Gambin comes off the bench against Cambridge on Saturday
Luke Gambin comes off the bench against Cambridge on Saturday

Midfielder Luke Gambin admitted that his call-ups to the Malta national squad are beginning to hamper his career with the Hatters.

The 24-year-old has seen his first team opportunities severely limited this term, making just eight appearances in the league, with a mere three coming from the start.

I want to be playing here, my career in England is very important.

Luke Gambin

Earlier in the campaign, Gambin began three league games in a row, before being called away with Malta to play World Cup qualifying games against Lithuania and Slovakia during October.

Since returning, he has not started in the league, restricted to just 35 minutes of action before Saturday when he had 70 against Cambridge after replacing Lawson D’Ath, although he has played a further seven times in cup competitions for the Hatters.

With Malta having a friendly against Luxembourg later this month, when asked if would consider giving up his international career, Gambin said: “I’ve had several chats with the manager about that, as it has got to a point where I’m just so frustrated.

“I want to be playing here, my career in England is very important.

“Obviously it’s brilliant to represent your country and the manager has reiterated that again to me, ‘you should be proud’ and I am proud.

“It’s just a shame that a few of the boys out there are off because they play in the higher leagues, but I miss games and that is disrupting me.

“But hopefully performances like today (Saturday) I can stay in his mind and when there is a chance to change the team, I get another call-up.

“It has disrupted me a bit, but there’s nothing much I can do.”

Gambin got his longest league run out for a while at the Abbey Stadium on Saturday and caught the eye from pretty much the moment he took to the field, with an impressed manager Nathan Jones saying: “I thought he was outstanding, he was a real bright one when he came on.

“That’s what we call game changers, he was excellent.

“He’s had to be patient, but I was delighted with him.”

The former Barnet wideman was pleased to hear the words of praise from his boss and now hopes his performance can see him force his way back into the side, saying: “It was a bit of a surprise, Lawson going down early, I was frustrated not to be involved, as the team changed a bit.

“But then the circumstances I was called upon and I’m always raring to go.

“The lads know me, I’ll give 100 per cent, work hard, and I enjoyed it being out there on the pitch.

“The emotion, going 1-0 up and the draw, it’s adrenaline and I’m happy with how I played, but I’m not happy with the draw.

“I would have loved to go on as a sub and won the game, it gives me a bit of leeway if I go and speak to the gaffer again, but we’re a top squad, like the gaffer says.

“We’ve got so many players here, it’s difficult for him and we’re all hungry, training’s intense.

“He’s honest with me, tells me that the team are doing so well, he likes me, and I’m in his plans, I’m on the bench pretty much every week.

“For him to credit me, that’s something I’m doing right.

“I knew if I get my opportunity I’ll just work hard and give my all.

“It would have been lovely to get three points, but the draw in terms of how the game went, it wasn’t too bad.

“I’m just happy to play for this football club and play in front of fans who are brilliant.

“It’s a joy for me, that’s what I want to be doing.”

It wasn’t just Jones that Gambin impressed too, as team-mate Luke Berry added: “He looked really sharp, great work-rate for not being in the team for a while and he looked like he was going for the 90 minutes, so that was great.”