Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson has gone into some detail over his thinking regarding striker Paddy Madden, who has been in and out of the side during the current season. Paddy was left entirely out of the first team squad for last weekend's home Championship game against Brighton and Hove Albion, leading to some speculation about where things stood with respect to last season's leading goalscorer.
Gary appeared on BBC Somerset on Friday night, for a lengthy interview on a wide range of topics, and inevitably the subject of Madden came up, along with Sam Foley who also sat out last weekend's game, along with the general theme of goalscoring. The Glovers boss told the Twentyman Talks Back programme that whilst Madden had been effective last season, that he felt he had become gradually less so this season, and needed some time out to get himself refocussed:
"He was (an effective striker) last year - that's for sure. He had a very quiet spell - a slow spell - early on in the (2013-14) season. Then he got injured and was out for four or five weeks with a medial knee ligament problem. Now he's sort of just coming back now. He's one of those lads that needs to be right mentally. He needs to feel wanted and he needs to feel that he's scoring goals. He doesn't like missing goals, and he gets upset with himself. But at the right time he'll be back. It's only 12 games into the season. We're trying to give him lots of Reserve games where he can score lots of twos and threes, where he can get his confidence back and get his game back. If someone is not scoring goals, then they've got to be doing everything else - they've got to be assisting in goals. I'm sure the penny will drop soon, and I'm sure he will start thinking about becoming a Championship player. I think he might have thought he was already a Championship player, which is great on the confidence side, but it wasn't quite happening for him, and he got less and less effective."
Gary was asked how Madden would earn his place back in the side and improve his confidence in front of goal, given that his main outlet would only be through Reserve Team style outings. Gary explained that applying himself well in such games would make a big difference and felt that he was showing some signs of reacting well to that:
"He gets back in the team by sticking the goals in at those (Reserve Team) levels, and showing us the 100 percent attitude that you need to play in our first team, not just when we've got the ball but when the opposition have got the ball. They're all things that he wants to do; he's not just saying 'Well, no I'm not going to do that'; he's just still learning the game. From where Paddy came from, he's not been at this level. It was a fantastic season for him, and he's a fantastic kid. I really like him as a personality, and as a person. His football personality is a little bit different. He won't thank me for it, but he has a little self-destruct button every now and again, as some players do. Then you have to let them spit their dummy out, but eventually they have to put their dummy back in their own mouth. Then you know that you've got them back. I don't think he's that far away at the moment, and in the last week or so he's looked okay."
Gary was asked if the pair had fallen out at a personal level at any stage in proceedings. He explained that his process of dealing with out of form players was to set them different challenges or scenarios to shake them out of that phase, and said that was being done on a professional level between them:
"No, we haven't fallen out, although I don't invite him to dinner around my house, and he doesn't invite me. You don't really fall out with people, you just sort of change things. I've tried everything - I've tried the arm around the shoulder, you try being his best mate, and then his worst enemy. You bring him in for extra training, you give him less training, you send him home, or whatever - (this is true of) players; any players - to have a rest, get out of the place, then come back refreshed - all of that sort of thing. We've tried everything, and we're still trying everything. That's really to try to get the best out of your squad. People at Bristol City used to call me a bit of a bully. I don't see it as bullying - I demand things. That's what you have to do, because if you don't demand things off players, then they tend to take the easy route. That's when you can get a team that might struggle."
Gary was also asked if he was seeing a response from his striker and if he was likely to work his way back into the first team. He was firm in his response and felt he was closer to being ready for a return to the first team squad:
"Yes he is - he is - I'm pleased to say. He could have gone the other way (after being dropped) and I'm pleased to say that he is gravitating towards the first team now."
Gary also gave away one bit of today's team selection against Nottingham Forest. Midfielder Sam Foley will be recalled to the first team squad and will be on the bench. Gary has indicated that part of Sam's exclusion has been that he suffered breathing problems in a Reserve Team game, and so they eased back on his training.
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