Hatters keeper doesn't think his Luton team-mate gets the credit he deserves

Full back Bree leads the way in terms of starts for Town this season

By Mike Simmonds
Saturday, 2nd April 2022, 10:50 am
Updated Saturday, 2nd April 2022, 10:52 am
Town defender James Bree scores a stunning free kick against Hull City recently - pic: Gareth Owen
Town defender James Bree scores a stunning free kick against Hull City recently - pic: Gareth Owen

Keeper James Shea believes team-mate James Bree doesn't always get the credit he deserves following a fine season for the Hatters.

The defender has been one first names on manager Nathan Jones’ team-sheet this term, with 36 starts in the league to his name, the most from any player at Kenilworth Road.

It places him ahead of Kal Naismith (34), with Elijah Adebayo and Amari’i Bell on 32 each, as long-serving midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu is fifth on 28.

The full back had struggled for form and fitness last season, making just 16 starts, but is reaping the benefits this term, as since Christmas he has been one of the stand-out performers for the Hatters, even earning his own song from the Luton faithful after finally winning them round.

When discussing the ex-Aston Villa and Barnsley youngster, Shea said: “I think Breesy’s done really well.

"He’s had a bit of stick which he hasn’t deserved, but people don’t realise how hard he works.

"He plays every game, the boy doesn’t miss a game, trains every single day, I don’t think he gets enough credit if I’m honest.

"He works really hard, he’s very, very good player, he does his job, his set-plays are top drawer, and I think he’s a real, real good player for us.”

Bree capped Luton’s last game before the international break with an outstanding goal as Town won 3-1 at Hull City too, arrowing a free kick into the net via the underside of the bar for what was his first of the season,

Shea continued: “One of the best free kicks I’ve ever seen in my life.

"I had a perfect view for it, I was standing right behind it, and I’m not going to lie, I was standing there thinking, go keeper’s side, go keeper’s side.

"I thought it was too close to the wall to get it up and over, and I’m thinking to myself, go keeper’s side, and I was wrong, really, really wrong.

“Some of the goals he scores in training is unbelievable and it’s nice to see all his hard work paying off in a game.

"It was a real important goal as when it goes 3-0, game’s done, game’s over.

"At 2-0, they get a goal back it’s squeaky bum time for the last five, 10 minutes, but it was a perfect time for the goal, 3-0, game was over.”

The win was Luton’s eighth in 11 matches and Shea knew it was the perfect way to go into what was a much-needed break after an exhausting schedule.

He said: “It was brilliant, we had a real good win against Preston and the boys knew we were going to get a nice few days off here, so we all thought this is one big, big push.

"To go to Hull and get a result, it doesn’t matter, you don’t care how you play, as long as we win, we go away with the three points, that was the thing we wanted to do.

"To be fair we played really well, got the three points, a bit gutting they scored with the last kick of the game, but listen, it’s not the end of the world.

“We scored at great times, we got a nice early goal to settle the nerves, and then we scored early-ish second half, and as soon as we got that second goal, game was dead.

"Any away win is fantastic, but it was timing of it was perfect.”

While a number of the squad went abroad during the break, manager Nathan Jones revealed he had travelled to Staffordshire and Bournemouth, as where Shea was able to go to, he added: “It was nice to have a little break if I’m honest, spend a time with my family, I went down with my family to my caravan in Clacton.

"It’s been absolutely manic, it’s been Saturday, Tuesday for god knows how long, we had Covid (during Christmas), so it’s since then.

“As a player, it’s not the worst thing in the world as you don’t train, all you do is play games.

"But it’s the same thing, you come in, you recover, play a game, recover, play a game and it was the same thing every day."