Luton chief confirmed Morrell missed Reds clash for tactical reasons

Midfielder not included in match day squad at City Ground

Friday, 5th March 2021, 9:14 am
Joe Morrell in action for the Hatters against Sheffield Wednesday

Luton boss Nathan Jones admitted that Joe Morrell missed out for tactical reasons during the 1-0 victory at Nottingham Forest in midweek.

The 24-year-old had started his first Championship game in over two months against Millwall last Tuesday night, keeping his spot for the clash against Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend.

However, Morrell was one of three players replaced at the break wit the Hatters 2-0 down, as then then missed out completely on the match-day squad that went to the City Ground, winning 1-0.

When asked for the reason behind his absence, Jones said: “He’s fine, it’s just that we rotated.

“He played two games on the spin and what we needed the other night, we started with two up top so we brought in Sam (Nombe) because we felt, to keep two up top we would need pace and athleticism.

“With Harry (Cornick) playing and Elijah (Adebayo), we wanted more of a like-for-like replacement for Harry.

“It was just tactical and the bench is very misleading at times because you want to get in the 11 but the bench is picked on what we may need, or what we can anticipate needing.

“Sometimes people miss out and they think, ‘I’ve trained well and started the game before’, but some days it’s just tactical.

“Joe’s a very good footballing central midfield player. We had four central midfield players in the starting line-up and Luke Berry, so we felt we didn’t need that.

“So, it’s just a little insight into how we choose a bench.”

When asked whether Morrell, who signed from Bristol City for an undisclosed fee in October, could occupy one of the attacking midfield berths with Glen Rea regularly chosen ahead of him in the holding role this term, Jones added: “He can play further forward but, again, he’s up against some real good, athletic, quality central midfield players.

“His competition is not just Glen Rea, it’s Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Pelly-Ruddock (Mpanzu), Ryan Tunnicliffe and Luke Berry, and that’s the reality of a Championship squad.

“Joe’s played more Championship games for us that he has in the past and we brought him here because he’s a type of player (we need).

“But, again, Joe needed time to settle and he’s picked up a few injuries which just curtailed his development a little bit, but Joe’s a part of our squad.

“It’s not just about Joe Morrell though, we have 25 players that we have to keep happy that are contributing, grafting and working hard every day.

“As a manager, that’s a difficult job, apart from results that’s the most difficult job.”