Luke Offord's splendid defending up against Exeter City’s danger man Randall Williams was a clear reflection of what the young defender has learned whilst out on loan at Witton and Nantwich, so says David Artell.
Offord was impressive again in the 1-1 draw at St. James’ Park on Tuesday night and his foot-race and tackle on Williams may have incensed the Exeter crowd but it demonstrated his growing confidence in the first-team.
Williams pulled the centre-half over to the right hand side and elected to try and out run the Academy graduate on the outside but Offord used his physicality superbly to usher his wider and then produced a perfectly executed sliding tackle on him to win the ball. It was fantastic defending.
Artell said of the incident in the 1-1 draw: “It was fantastic defending from Luke up against Williams. Their fans didn’t think so because they either thought it was a foul or couldn’t work out why their star man hadn’t got past our centre-half.
“He held him superbly and then stole the ball from him, it was great defending and I wouldn’t say he learned that in our Academy. He has learned that by going out on loan and having that exposure to men’s football.
“It has benefitted his development. We can give him the techniques, the distances and where he should be but that hustle and bustle of the game, like that comes from playing in non-league.
“That is testimony to him. He is a clever footballer and he has a really bright future if he keeps on improving.”