Lambert: I Won’t Have a Player Say They’d Rather Be at Home With the Wife and Kids
Friday, 19th Feb 2021 09:24
Town boss Paul Lambert says Kayden Jackson and Jon Nolan, banished to train with the U23s, have let the club down, let themselves down and let their team-mates down.
Jackson angered Lambert with his red card against Sunderland, while Nolan expressed his frustration to the manager after travelling to Crewe and not finding out until shortly before kick-off that he wasn’t in the 18.
“Yes, for reasons that I think are right,” Lambert said when asked to confirm that the duo are training with the U23s.
“As I said before, I won’t have a player [Nolan], any player come to me and say they’d rather be at home with the wife and kids. If that’s your mentality you’re better doing that.
“I need players that are going to dig in at a really hard moment, but you need players digging in and I’m not having it.
“I’ve never had any player do that. I’m not naming names or anything like that but I’ve not known any player at the top level that I’ve played at, top level I’ve managed, I’ve never had anybody saying that to me. I think it’s disrespectful to your team-mates.”
Does he feel they’ve let him down? “They’ve let the club down, let themselves down, let their team-mates down. It’s immaterial to me. I’ve managed at the top level, played at the top level, won the highest things in Europe at the top level, I’ve never had that.
“And I need players at this football club that are going to die for it, that are going to run for it and are going to work for it.”
General manager of football operations Lee O’Neill has confirmed that there was loan interest in Jackson on deadline say, with Huddersfield the club understood to have made an approach, but with the deal not one Town were prepared to do.
Nolan was mentioned in connection with Rotherham United, Wigan Athletic, Peterborough United and Doncaster Rovers shortly before the window.
Asked whether the duo wanted to leave in the transfer window, Lambert said: “Nobody came in, that was the thing. You can’t go anywhere if nobody comes in for you.”
What can they do to get themselves in their manager’s good books? “I really don’t know but, as I said before, that’s my answer to it. The mentality, I’ve never heard that before at any level of football and I need players that are going to die for here, that are going to work.”
With Flynn Downes suspended for the next two games due to his red card on Tuesday, Nolan would have been an option in midfield, while Jackson would have been an option from the bench as the Blues look for goals.
“It doesn’t matter, it’s the attitude to the whole thing, to everything,” he said. “As I said before, I’m not having that, I’m not having it for the team, to disrespect any team-mates or anything like that.
“If that’s the attitude, that you want to stay with your wife and kids, then fine, that’s totally fine. But I need people who want to die and play for the club.”
Do the rest of the squad understand the situation? Has it created waves within the group? “I think anybody can see, OK everybody’s frustrated with results, but one thing you can’t level at them is a lack of fight, you can never label them with that, a lack of fight. For me I don’t have a problem with their fight.”
Regarding that fight in the squad, he added: "Well, it's proven. You don't say that. The clubs that I've played with and played with the best of the best and won the best, and I know the highest level.
“To be in Europe, I know what it's like to play in European finals and World Cups, and I've never ever, ever heard that – ever.
"And that's not the mentality I'm going for. If you want to stay with your wife and kids, then no problem, stay with them.
“At this football club, we need people that want to fight and die for it. That's what we need. And the supporters, maybe it's the first of them hearing it.
“They might turn around and say, 'hang on a minute, so what do we do, let people play when they want to play?'.
“You go back to your boss and say you don't want to do your work and see what happens.
Asked later to confirm that the player he is talking about is Nolan, Lambert wouldn't add to what he had previously said.
“You can take the stories from the other guys. I don't want to go through it again, that's it.”
Asked whether it was unfair that there are two issues and only one player is being talked about, Lambert added: “I told you to take it off [the earlier comments] and if you're going to keep going on, I'll just walk off. Talk about the game.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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