Jones: Picking a Luton squad is the hardest its ever been

Town midfielder Joe Morrell missed out on the Luton squad at Huddersfield Town last weekendTown midfielder Joe Morrell missed out on the Luton squad at Huddersfield Town last weekend
Town midfielder Joe Morrell missed out on the Luton squad at Huddersfield Town last weekend
Hatters chief leaves two internationals out for Terriers trip

Boss Nathan Jones has admitted the task of having to choose a side for the Hatters is the hardest it has ever been after leaving out a number of internationals during the 1-1 draw at Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

Wales duo Tom Lockyer and Joe Morrell didn’t even make the bench at the John Smith’s Stadium, while summer addition Jordan Clark also missed out, as did deadline day acquisition Sam Nombe.

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Speaking after the match, Jones said: “My job is absolutely so difficult on a Saturday morning when one you’ve got to pick the team and then you’ve got to pick a bench.

“The four we left out would get in a lot of Championship sides and definitely would have got in past Luton sides, so it shows we’re in a good place, difficult, but a good place.

“We had a bit of a training session (the day before), 11 v 11 and in all honesty you wouldn’t have told which side was going to start, we’ve got a good strong squad.

“We’re coming into these games now expecting to get results, wins or draws, whatever it is.

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“We’re winning games, picking up points, we’re hard to beat, we’re tactically aware, we’re training at the level, we’ve got a great, young, athletic, enthusiastic squad and we’re looking to get better.

“So the club’s in a wonderful, wonderful place. If this corona would finally do one, the whole world would seem better.”

Lockyer and Morrell should both get some minutes this week when they head away with their country to take on USA in a friendly and then have Nations League fixtures against Ireland and Finland.

They aren’t the only two Luton players in action though, with Rhys Norrington-Davies also away with Wales, plus striker James Collins (Republic of Ireland) and Simon Sluga (Croatia).

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Although proud to have the quintet called up, Jones would have preferred to turn down Wales’ request for the trio, saying: “I’d like to, they said no to me enough, but we’re proud of them.

“For James it’s slightly different as he was out with coronavirus.

"I don’t mind him going away too much as probably the game time will do him good and the buzz.

“People like Rhys don’t need to be going away, he’s had so much football and Joe and Tom.

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“We have three Welsh internationals, an Irish international, a Croatian international, so it shows the club is in a good place.

“We’re proud of our internationals, for Luton to have five internationals going away shows we’ve come a long way.

“We’ve come so far, we really have and we have to remember that sometimes.

“When I say we’ve come so far, history says we were a top, top side and then things happened, we’ve had to regather that,

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“Now we’re competing on a wonderful level with all these top sides with big budgets, brilliant, it’s a great place to be at and I don’t think we should be forgetting that.”

For the rest of Town’s squad who aren’t going away with their countries, Jones thinks they are deserving of the rest period, as he added: “Definitely, because people are putting in massive, massive shifts.

“People like Matty Pearson, Sonny Bradley, Martin Cranie, have played so many 90 minutes, Pelly Ruddock (Mpanzu), it’s taken its toll really and then it waters down.

“We’d have loved to have had a real sharpness about us second half (against Huddersfield), but we’ve just repeated games, games, games, games - we’ve needed to get to this point.

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“If someone had said to me after Saturday’s game you’re going to get four points on the road, going to be where you are in this international break, we’d have taken that all day long.

“And we’re not over-achieving, we’re not under-achieving, we’re in a place where we feel we are.

“Probably the (Nottingham) Forest result (1-1 draw), we could have had two more points,we get two more points we’d be in an even better position.

“But I’m delighted with the return I’m getting, the work-rate, the application, and the strength of the squad, so we’re in a decent place.”