Moncur is finally starting to realise his full potential in the Championship after deciding to stay at Luton

Town midfielder George Moncur finds a team-mate during Saturday's FA Cup win over ReadingTown midfielder George Moncur finds a team-mate during Saturday's FA Cup win over Reading
Town midfielder George Moncur finds a team-mate during Saturday's FA Cup win over Reading
Midfielder reaping the benefits due to his improved work off the ball

Hatters midfielder George Moncur is finally giving himself every chance to prove he can cope with the demands of the Championship this season according to boss Nathan Jones.

The 27-year-old started out with West Ham as a youngster, but left Upton Park with just two first team appearances in three years, heading to Colchester in 2014.

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He then went to Barnsley, featuring for the Tykes in the second tier, but when the Oakwell side were relegated, he joined Luton as they were on their way to the League One title two years ago.

During Town’s first Championship campaign, Moncur made just 17 league appearance, with only one start, but this term things have changed dramatically.

The popular member of Town's squad has become a big player for the Hatters, with 14 appearances already in the league, seven starts, while he scored his third goal of the campaign during the 1-0 FA Cup win over Reading on Saturday.

Jones has previously revealed Moncur could have left the club in the previous transfer window, but opted to stay put and fight for his place.

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When discussing the midfielder’s impact this term, Jones said: “To paint a picture, George just said, ‘I just want to play games’.

“We said, ‘right, we could loan him back to ten League One sides.’

“The best sides in League One would want George Moncur in their side because he would rip up the division, like he did here and like he has in the past, and that’s why he got his move.

“I said to him, ‘you could either do that and take the easy way out, or you can knuckle down and start impacting on the Championship’, so he said, ‘OK, I’ll do that.’

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“He could still get better in possession, but in possession he’s been a very productive player for any club he’s played.

“Out of possession he needed to learn and everyone has to learn.

“It’s not like George can’t do it or didn’t want to do it, he just needed to learn and that’s all it was.

“We like to educate here, everyone’s at their maximum here and he’s taken everything on board.”

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Jones can often be heard bellowing out Moncur’s name from the dug-out during games, with the midfielder more than happy to hear his manager’s voice piercing the air, saying: “He’s been on me every day to be fair.

“But like I say all the time, he’s the first manager that’s really sort of knuckled down and not shouts, but gives me information where I know I have to do it.

“Where I used to switch off, he’s the one that I know what I’ve got to do, so I’m not really in a situation in games when I don’t know what I’m doing anymore off the ball with runs and that, so he’s helped me loads.”

Jones was also pleased to hear that the talented midfielder was clearly taking things on board this term, saying: “He’s brilliant, he’s great to have around.

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“He’s exactly like a Pelly-Ruddock (Mpanzu), he reminds me of Pelly in terms of how they are around the place.

“He lifts people, he’s a certain character and he’s a born again Christian, which he openly professes and preaches, with lifts people as well.

“So, we really like George and it would be a shame for him to keep taking the easy way out and going to one of the better footballing sides in League One because he’s never going to fulfill all that potential, if he just wants to dominate that level.

“Now, he has to improve and we’re delighted with him.

“It’s very nice that he says those things but a lot of the onus has been on him.

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“If he didn’t want to do it, then no matter how good a manager, coach, or environment you’ve got, if players don’t want to do it, they don’t, but he does.”

When discussing just how vital a player's work off the ball is to make the grade in the second tier of English football, Jones added: “The Championship is a relentless league and I’ve worked with players that thought they were too good for the Championship and didn’t believe that had to put in that daily work, they got punished for it.

“Whereas, we have a group here that realise the value of doing the basics right and that’s what you have to do in the Championship.

"If you do the basics right, you’re consistent, work hard and then if you have ability, because you need it to win games at this level, you give yourself a chance if you have that work-rate and that desire to do well.

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"We have a group here that wants to do that. Anyone that doesn’t want to do it stands out like a sore thumb and that’s why this environment is so good.

"There’s no disrespect whatsoever with this, but we haven’t got the pure finance of others.

"We haven’t got the absolute top-end talent that some have got, that have been in the Premier League and so on, but what we’ve got is a real good ability.

"We’re a talented group, but we’ve got a real desire to do well.

"They’ve got a belief in themselves and what they do and that can take us a long way."

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