Luton boss praises attitude and commitment from Town debutant Thorpe during FA Cup triumph

Hatters youngster impresses in first senior outing at Cambridge

By Mike Simmonds
Monday, 7th February 2022, 10:45 am
Updated Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 12:48 pm

Luton boss Nathan Jones was pleased with the attitude and commitment shown by midfielder Elliot Thorpe during his Town debut during the 3-0 FA Cup win at Cambridge United on Saturday.

The 21-year-old was signed after spending eight years with Tottenham Hotspur's academy back in September, but has had to wait patiently for a first senior outing having featured predominantly for the development side.

However, with Jones making eight changes from the side that beat Swansea in the Championship on Tuesday night for their fourth round tie at the Abbey Stadium, Thorpe was introduced for not just his maiden Town outing, but a first senior appearances as well.

Eager to proved he wasn't daunted by the surroundings, Thorpe was quick to get some early challenges in and let the U's players know he meant business.

Although the pitch and conditions made it difficult for Town to get the ball down and play as much as they might have hoped, the midfielder remained neat and tidy in possession too, before getting a slight knock in the second half when receiving a firm tackle from George Williams.

He tried to run it off, then landing awkwardly again after an aerial challenge, eventually replaced on 68 minutes by Danny Hylton, as when asked how the debutant did, Jones said: "I'm really pleased, he’s had to bide his time, his attitude was excellent, his work-rate, he showed real commitment.

"It's very difficult to show real, real quality as the wind was swirling, so it speeds up everything, but I thought he was excellent.

Elliot Thorpe on his Luton debut against Cambridge at the weekend - pic: Gareth Owen

"He did a job and he was part of a 3-0.

"You come to Cambridge, you win 3-0, the second from last time we came here it was the same scoreline, so I’m very pleased as it was a tough game.”

The Wales U21 international was also on free kick duty with both James Bree and Henri Lansbury rested, his first set-piece perfect for Reece Burke to break the deadlock with a downward header on 14 minutes to open his account for the club.

Jones was happy to see the youngster provide the assist, although knew he could have done ever better with his other opportunities, adding: "He had 25 per cent quality as he put in one in four in the first half.

"If he put the other three on the money then we might have extended it (the lead), so that's the learning curve there as well.

"We work religiously on set-plays and it was probably the only good ball we put in from a set-play in the first half.

"But I can’t complain, I’ve had a commitment from the full group and we were able to rest a few as well for Tuesday (against Barnsley), so I’m very pleased with the squad, for Carlos (Mendes Gomes) to get a goal, and (Admiral) Muskwe as well, because Ade’s needed that.

"It was important to score at the right time, it's important to win the game, we went in at 2-0, so it was very difficult to peg us back.

"Then when we had to defend we defended and then we score the third and as the game went on, late on they committed a few more and we probably could have nicked one or two more on the break as well.

"So it was a very pleasing afternoon, plus we made eight changes, given people game time, rested people for Tuesday as well, so it's a successful weekend."

Meanwhile, Thorpe himself tweeted following the game: "Proud day for me & my family making my professional debut for @LutonTown.

"Topped off with a win & an assist!"