O’Donnell returns to Hampton

LUTON Town youngster JJ O’Donnell has rejoined Blue Square Bet South side Hampton & Richmond on loan for another month, writes Mike Simmonds.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 15th December 2011, 6:45 pm

The 20-year-old returned from a spell at the Beveree to feature as a substitute in Hatters’ 2-0 win over Swindon Supermarine in the FA Trophy on Saturday.

But as the next round at Hinckley United is not until January 14, then O’Donnell has gone back to Hampton to maintain his match fitness and will return to Kenilworth Road in time for the Trophy tie.

Speaking after the victory at the weekend, O’Donnell, who has also been on loan at Southern Premier side Cambridge City, admitted he has been impressed with the standard of football in Hampton’s division.

He said: “In Cambridge’s league, you get a lot more direct football, but in Conference South, teams want to pass it around.

“There are better surfaces to play on, especially at Hampton and the manager doesn’t want you to not knock it out of your feet and smash it long.

“He wants you to get the ball down and pass and play.

“That suits me as if the team are trying to smash it long and pick up pieces, then it’s pointless me being on the pitch.

“I’m not the biggest physically, not the tallest, so it’s pointless them shelling it long and me trying to head the ball on.

“It’s a learning game for me though as if teams play direct football, I’ve got to try and adapt my game.

“But I learned at Hampton that playing football in the lower leagues can get you places.

“They might be near the bottom, but they’re trying to play football the right way, that’s the important thing.”

With Luton manager Gary Brabin wanting his side to play a passing style of football too, O’Donnell felt it was important for him to experience something similar on a regular basis at a place like Hampton.

He added: “The gaffer (Brabin) encourages us to pass it, he uses Barcelona as an example week in week out.

“The way they pass it and the way they press, not only with the ball but without.

“He wants us to press high and win the ball back as soon as we lose it, so it’s more benefit to go to a club like Hampton and then come back.”

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