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Experience For Ismail

PUBLISHED

10:23 11th January 2014

Gaffer on Zeli/Foley/Elokobi

Zeli Ismail has been challenged to make the most of his loan spell with Burton Albion and build up his match experience – to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Michael Jacobs.

Ismail has dipped in and out of the first team set-up during his breakthrough Wolves season, and with Jacobs, James Henry and Bakary Sako currently vying for the first team winger berths, the 20-year-old has temporarily joined the Sky Bet League Two highflyers.

It offers him a good opportunity to build on loan spells with MK Dons last season and 11 appearances for Wolves thus far.

“I think the Burton loan is a very good one,” said Head Coach Kenny Jackett.

“Zeli has to look at somebody like Jacobs whose only a couple of years older and has 160 League games.

“He needs to now start building up his profile and his League games.

“We want to be judging people when they’ve played 25, 50 or 75 League games. That’s a good target for a young player. 

“This is his second loan spell. He didn’t play too many times at MK Dons but if you’re looking at the development of younger players it is important to develop them as people as well. 

“The cross section of clubs and the different ways people do things - and I’m not suggesting Zeli doesn’t appreciate it here - but sometimes them going out to other clubs makes them appreciate where they have been brought up as well.

“It’s a good life experience as well as a footballing education that is part of why he has gone to Burton.”

At the opposite end of the experience scale Kevin Foley remains available for loan, with Jackett surprised as yet there have been no takers for the versatile Republic of Ireland international.

“We haven’t had any calls about Kevin and I am surprised,” said the Head Coach.

“He is such an experienced player - the age-bracket he is in, he could still do very well.

“He is getting stronger now in terms of his ankle injury. He played a behind-closed doors game against Burnley in midweek and looked very good and very strong.

“He is to be commended for his attitude and his work-rate in getting as strong as he possibly can without necessarily getting any encouragement.

“He is a model professional who works very hard.”

Another experienced player who has been patiently waiting his chance – and came in to positive effect at Gillingham last week – is George Elokobi.

And Jackett has revealed the Cameroon-born defender remains in his thoughts more primarily as a centre back rather than left back, where he has previously featured for most of his career.

“I see George as a centre back now,” said Jackett.

“In think in the way I want to play and in modern football your full-backs really need to be attackers and be able to have the ability to get down the line.

““Not that he can’t do well for me at left-back, but I think he is more suited to the centre now.

“I think his future, personally, is where he played at Gillingham. It showed because he defended very well and very solidly.”

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