Hatters boss Nathan Jones revealed that a change in attitude by young midfielder Tyreeq Bakinson was behind the teenager’s move to Championship side Bristol City on deadline day last week.
The 18-year-old was a surprise departure late on as the window was shutting, as he opted to leave Kenilworth Road and join the Robins’ U23 squad, where he link up with another ex-Luton youngster in Freddie Hinds.
We’re brave here, we give young players opportunities, so I was hurt by the way he came to see me and what he did and especially some of the things said.Nathan Jones
Bakinson had been highly rated by the Hatters, with Jones admitting he hadn’t wanted to let the youngster go, but once it became clear he and his representatives didn’t wish to remain at Luton, pushed the move through.
The Town chief said: “We tried everything possible to keep him.
“We had a meeting with him in May and said, ‘you will get every opportunity, you’re 18 years of age, there’s been a lot of good players in front of you, but we will give you every opportunity in pre-season, to get in our first team.’
“In pre-season, he was below the standard in terms of what we have, in terms of (Alan) McCormack and Pelly Ruddock, Olly Lee, he was behind those.
“So if I’d given him a start just gratuitously, then they wouldn’t have been happy.
“So he came to me and said ‘I don’t think I’m going to get in your team, so I want to go, I want to play in someone else’s U23 team.’
“His father came in, we said ‘no, we want to keep you here, we want to give you that development, we want to be patient with you.’
“And him and his dad, categorically said, ‘we do not want to be at this football club, we want to go and play in someone’s U23 side.’
“So when that happens we think, if there’s a deal on the table that’s right for Luton Town, that enables Luton Town to move forward, we do it, if there’s not, then we don’t and he adheres to what the process is here.
“As it was, he had an attitude change, an attitude shift, and I don’t want that.
“He’s a young, he’s played six games and we gave him those games.
“We’re brave here, we give young players opportunities, so I was hurt by the way he came to see me and what he did and especially some of the things said.
“But we move on, no problem, this club is not about Tyreeq Bakinson, we move on and we wish him all the best.
“We’re a fantastic football club, a great tradition football club, we bring people through, give opportunities to young people, blood them in, we develop our own.”
On what Bakinson needed to improve to reach the level required for Town’s first team, Jones continued: “His all-round game, defensively, he wasn’t the finished article, he had to learn to control a game, had to be more dominant, had to be more physical.
“In possession, look, he was very good, but whether he was at the level of the others is another thing.
“He would have got every opportunity to show what he could do, but it’s one of those things, his impatience coincided with us having very good footballers in that position.
“So he wasn’t prepared to be patient, and in the end it got to a point where I was having to deal with that on a more regular basis. At the end of the day we’ve got a big football club, you can’t deal with that.
“The Isaac Vassell thing took away our focus, this was taking away my focus and that can’t happen as we have one goal, and that’s to get promoted and to move up.
“We’d like to do it with our homegrown ones, but if we can’t then we move on.”