Hatters boss Nathan Jones wasn’t surprised to hear about speculation regarding full back James Justin’s future, but insisted the youngster was staying put at Kenilworth Road.
Reports circulated yesterday that Premier League champions Leicester City were interested in a move for the teenager who has enjoyed a stellar first season with the club after coming through the youth ranks.
He has all the criteria to be a top full back, but he’s Luton’s top full back, and we see that remaining for the foreseeable future.Nathan Jones
Although Foxes boss Craig Shakespeare admitted it wasn’t a name he had heard of personally, Jones is well aware Justin and some of the other young talent at the club have been attracting plenty of interest this season.
He said: “If I was Leicester or any Premier League club, I’d be monitoring James Justin, they’re only doing their job.
“I know for a fact there’s plenty monitoring him, but James Justin is our player, and he’s a wonderful, wonderful player.
“He’s going to be even better, but this is the right place for him.
“It’s good, and he must be flattered, we’re flattered that people are coveting our young players, but they’re here, he’s under contract, and he’s a key member of what we do here.”
When asked if the thought the speculation would affect the 19-year-old, who has made 37 appearances this season for the Hatters in what is his breakthrough campaign, Jones said: “It might, but he’s very level headed boy and he has a wonderful way about him, a temperament, he’s unfazed by lots of things.
“The boy’s going to have a fantastic career, if he keeps progressing, keeps working hard, keeps his diligence in everything he does.
“He’s going to have a fantastic career, but at the minute, he’s developing at such a rate here that this is the right place for him.
“I don’t think it will affect him any way. I’ve never got to speak to him about anything, I have a little joke with him now and again but he’s just one you leave alone and he gets on with it.
“I give him guidance in terms of structurally how we want him to play, but in terms of how to handles games and certain situations, the boy’s a bit of a phenomenon in that way.
“He wouldn’t be in our squad if he wasn’t that type. We not only develop players here we develop humans as well, we think, in terms of professional and how they go about their work.”
Jones knew that his young charge was going to impress this season after his full debut against Aston Villa in the EFL Cup too, in which Luton knocked the Championship side out, with Justin starting at left back on the night.
Town’s chief continued: “He just has an excellent temperament, he’s displayed that in the youth team last year, we held him back a certain level, gave him his debut against Exeter and thought were going to have to hold him back slightly,
“But when he was forced to play against Villa, we thought, hang on, if we hold this kid back any longer, it’ll be to his detriment,
“He’s done very well in all that he’s done and we’re pleased to have him.”
Although Jones knows that Town won’t always be able to hang on to all of their players should the big clubs come knocking, he insisted that a move to the higher echelons will only come about if it’s the right deal for all parties concerned.
He added: “If you say that (you have to sell), you become a selling club, we’re not a selling club.
“We have real good people at the club that want to develop it.
“If everything was right for all parties, in terms of James Justin and Luton Town and more importantly than anything and for myself and my team, it could be something to be done.
“But we’re nowhere near that yet, so let’s not speculate. The boy is in wonderful form, he’s excelled this year, played over 30 games in his first season, which is a wonderful thing.
“He has all the criteria to be a top full back, but he’s Luton’s top full back, and we see that remaining for the foreseeable future.”