Colchester United defender Sean Clohessy’s wise words for QPR loanee Cole Kpekawa
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Sean Clohessy, a full-back by trade, predicts a bright future for new team-mate and fellow defender Cole Kpekawa.
But Clohessy, Colchester United’s vie-captain, warns that Kpekawa must not rest on his laurels.
Versatile defender Kpekawa, who signed on loan for the U’s from QPR last Thursday, caught the eye on his Football League debut in the 1-0 home defeat by Coventry City on Saturday.
The 18-year-old rookie operated as a left-back, impressing Clohessy, nine years his senior, who was on the right side of the defence. He is expected to continue in that role at MK Dons this Saturday.
“Cole (Kpekawa) is an athletic lad, and he can play centre-half as well,” explained Clohessy.
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“He’s a big boy, he’s powerful, and he looks to get forward, though he doesn’t over-commit, which is good for the balance of the defence.
“Getting that right balance has perhaps been a problem in the past, because we have had issues with me going (forward) and Elliott (Hewitt) doing the same. We were a bit expansive, and I spoke to the gaffer (Tony Humes) about curbing my runs a bit.
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“To me, Cole looks like a natural centre-half, who has gone to left-back.
“He seems to join in when he has got the ball, and he doesn’t over-commit, which is good for the back four.
“I was very impressed with him against Coventry. That was the first time I had seen him play properly at left-back – I had only seen him for five minutes before in training.
“Attacking wise, he looked good, and nothing troubled him too much defensively. When it did, he had the pace to get back,” added Clohessy.
However, ex-Southend and Kilmarnock full-back, Clohessy, knows that Kpekawa has a lot of work to do to establish himself in the professional game.
“If Cole keeps working hard, he will have a good career, but how many players do you see go on loan at 18 or 19 and then, five years later, where have they gone? It’s all about a player’s attitude,” said Clohessy.
“When I was at Arsenal (as a youth team player), I never went out on loan anywhere, but there were many people who said that I would never make it.
“But there were boys in that team who were tipped to play for England, and they are not even playing football anymore! You must apply yourself to everything, in the gym, in training, and in matches.”
Ironically, Humes might turn to Kpekawa or Clohessy to fill in at centre-half at times this term, due to Magnus Okuonghae’s long-term absence with a ruptured Achilles. He will have an operation today.