The versatility of Colchester United’s Gavin Massey
- Credit: Lucy taylor
Gavin Massey is fast developing into one of the most versatile players on Colchester United’s books.
The influential Massey has operated mainly as a winger during his two years with the U’s, on both the left and right flanks, with occasional cameo roles as an out-and-out striker.
But the 21-year-old was handed a different challenge during the second half of last Saturday’s encouraging 3-0 victory at basement dwellers Crewe Alexandra, switching from the right wing to an attacking midfield role, behind the front three.
Massey has occasionally played through the middle, but he was given an extended run at Gresty Road. And he came up trumps to give manager Tony Humes considerable food for thought, for future games.
In fact, the ex-Watford man may even start in that role at Preston tomorrow.
The U’s were struggling to get on top at Crewe, with the score at 0-0 and the hosts threatening to take the initiative, when Humes made the bold move to introduce rookie front-runner Rhys Healey as a 54th minute substitute.
Healey played up front, Freddie Sears switched to the right wing, and Massey moved inside to bolster the midfield – 13 minutes later and the U’s were 3-0 up and coasting!
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Now Humes has new options heading into tomorrow’s tough test at sixth-placed Preston.
“I made the change to get us tighter in midfield,” explained Humes.
“We just thought putting Gavin Massey in there would just give us a bit more. I’m not knocking anybody, because nobody played really poorly, but it was just to tighten us up.
“I thought that Gavin’s effort and work-rate would help us. He has played in there before, and it did help.
“I thought that the threat was on the flanks, but we didn’t really exploit that fully at Crewe. We got success in the second half, but not the first half.
“We put Rhys (Healey) on to stretch them and play Freddie out wide to give him a chance, which paid dividends with the goals.
“I just felt that we were a bit loose in midfield to start with,” added Humes.
When Humes took over the managerial reins, the U’s had mustered just one point from their first five league games to sit just one place off the bottom rung.
But since then, eight points have been gathered from the last five League One fixtures, a run that has seen the U’s escape the relegation zone.
“If we hadn’t got the victory last weekend, then we would still have been close to Crewe,” said Humes. Crewe also lost 3-0 at home to Notts County on Tuesday night.
Humes continued: “Now we have caught a few teams up, and it’s all been a continuation of performances over these last five games.
“Hopefully, we can start the game better at Preston, than we did at Crewe.”