Cool and collected Taiwo is keen to hold on to penalty-taking duties
Cool and collected Hatters midfielder Solomon Taiwo has laid claim to Town’s penalty duties after calmly dispatching his spot-kick in Tuesday night’s 2-0 win over Salisbury City, writes Mark Wood.
Having seen Shaun Whalley’s penalty saved in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Southport, the experienced midfielder was keen to get his hands on the ball and duly delivered.
He said: “I think everyone was hungry to put what we done on Saturday behind us. I think there was a massive determination, we spoke about it, we worked on it in training, not the penalty, but it was just something we needed to do.
“We knew that we had to put that behind us, we had to work hard and when the penalty came I was confident enough to take it and thankfully it went in the back of the net.
“I was so happy when I saw the ball hit the back of the net because now I think we’ve got something to propel us forward.”
Taiwo showed his composure from the spot last season as he netted in the 2-2 draw at Cambridge United and had been keen to retain the responsibility.
“I think I wanted it initially against Arsenal, he (Whalley) took it and he put it in the back of the net, so deservedly he could take the next penalty,” said Taiwo.
“But once he missed, I didn’t want him to miss, but he did miss, I felt I was next in the hierarchy so I took it and put it in the back of the net.
“So until I miss I think I’m the penalty taker. Let’s worry about playing and getting the penalty first though.”
Boss John Still was unfussed by the change in taker, saying: “All I said to Shaun was, listen, if you’re comfortable taking it take it, if not we’ve got three others that if they pick the ball up and you’re not as confident to take it (they are).
“Solly took one last year against Cambridge, no problems, I’ve known Solly for a long time and he’ll take a good penalty. Luke Guttridge he’s happy to take a penalty so I didn’t really have any problems with it.
“And if Shaun had wanted to take it I wouldn’t have had a problem with that.”
Still also believes that Taiwo is only showing ‘flashes’ of the player he promises to be, as he continued: “Solly’s finding he’s feet a bit.
“I don’t think he’s started the last two games great, he shows flashes of immense quality with his switching of play, which is unbelievable.
“But he’s still getting into his game and he’s doing OK without doing great and he’s doing lots of good things and lots of disappointing things.
“But when you needed someone to step up and convert a penalty he did it. It’s a skill, not putting the ball in the back of the net, but having the responsibility of taking it is a skill.”
Positive Taiwo is trying to stay level-headed about his own showing though, adding: “You always like to think there’s more, but at the same time I like to stay level-headed and I’ll push on every game and try and improve.
“But I’m a positive person and I look on the positive not the negatives. After today’s game I’m going to go home, reflect and hopefully pick on things that maybe I could do better, but at the same time be happy for what I have done well.”