Curle says Cobblers 'the perfect fit' for Arsenal's Olayinka after teenager impresses on debut

Keith Curle says the Cobblers have had to get 'Arsenal's way of playing' out of James Olayinka's system following the teenager's eye-catching debut performance against Scunthorpe United.

Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 6:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th January 2020, 8:03 am
Olayinka hopes to be fit for the trip to Macclesfield after injuring his ankle late on against Scunthorpe

The 19-year-old had only signed the previous afternoon but was quickly into his stride in his first ever game in the Football League.

He played a part in Vadaine Oliver's early opener and was at the heart of everything for Town in the first-half as they eased to a comfortable victory.

"We had a training session on Monday and we did some work on the shape and phases of play," said Curle.

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"In the first phase of play - and this is not being disrespectful in any way - we've had to get Arsenal's way of playing out of his system.

"The first thing he wants to do is to get on the ball but I want him landing on the second balls so we did work on our shape and playing out.

"He gets attracted to the ball but I want him working away from the ball, landing on second balls, using his energy and using his dynamics in the opposition's half.

"I had a conversation with him and the analyst worked with him, showing him passages of play and where we need him to be.

"The lad's at Arsenal because he's a good player and good players pick up different systems and different formations very quickly."

Asked how he managed to persuade Arsenal to lend one of their young prodigies to the Cobblers, Curle explained: "I spoke to Arsenal and Arsenal were at the game on Tuesday to watch him.

"The reason why we were able to attract James to the club because of our knowledge of him as an individual and where he is in his development.

"We felt we were the perfect fit for him with the dynamics he's got and the skill set he has. It's the perfect timing for the lad and perfect time for us for him to come in."

Olayinka picked up a late ankle injury on Tuesday and was visibly hobbling in the last few minutes with Curle having made all three subs.

"I think I'm going to get it assessed tomorrow (Thursday) and over the next couple of days," said the midfielder. "Hopefully I should be able to get recovered and be able to go again against Macclesfield.

"The focus is just on getting recovered, resting up and focusing on Saturday."