Lee Bowyer sat down with cafc.co.uk for an in-depth interview during the club’s pre-season camp in Spain.
You can watch the interview, in full, for free below.
On how the new signings have settled in…
“Macauley [Bonne], it’s tough for him because he came from non-league, from [Leyton] Orient. But he’s got potential, we’ve seen something that we can improve. The lad can finish, so we just have to polish up on other parts of his game and try and develop him into an all-round striker. He’s got pace, he works hard and for me he’s a good signing. We have to be patient with him, we’ve known that from the start. Obviously [with us] going from League One to the Championship, it’s going to be an even bigger jump for him. But I have no doubt in him, he’ll keep progressing and improving, so he’s a good asset to our squad.
“Tom Lockyer, he’s a Welsh international and he’s very good in possession for a centre-half. He’s a winner. At Bristol [Rovers] last season, he was very good and he puts his body on the line. He’s the type of player we need to bring in, that wants to fight and compete and win, because those are the type of lads that we have in our dressing room already, so he’s the perfect fit for that.
“Chuks, I think he’s going to bring us something that we haven’t got already. Already, he’s impressed me in that little game we had yesterday [against CS Gaz Metan Medias], he got it on the half-turn, drove. He’s such a strong, powerful boy and just pushes people off, the way he takes care of the ball for his assists and he can finish. He’s definitely something we haven’t got and he’s a good, physical presence. Looking at his size, he surprises me how good his feet are, so yeah he’s definitely going to excite us. Again, he needs to improve in certain areas and we’ll work at that and he knows that. We met him in the summer, we spoke to him and said ‘I will make you better, but you have to come on board’. Lyle [Taylor] took it on board last year, Karlan [Grant] took it on board last year and they’ve both improved. He needs to do the same and he will.
He wants to prove himself in this division, same as Tom, same as Macauley. Whoever we bring in; they’re going to be winners and they’ll want to improve and impress in this division and that’s the type of person we want. So the three that we’ve brought, for me, are very good signings.”
On the togetherness of the squad being strengthened by the new signings…
“That’s why you need to come away, you can’t just stay at the training ground for five weeks, day-in, day-out. We’re there all season and to come to somewhere like this, out in the mountains and the hills and they train completely different to what they would do at home. You need to take them out of their comfort zone, you’ve seen some of the hills they’ve been running up! You wouldn’t do that normally. It builds them and takes their body into places they’ve never been before and it’s horrible and you feel ill.
“They’re pushing themselves every single day and that’s the point. You come here, after they go back to the hotel and they relax. We’ll go out for some food and everyone eats together. It’s team bonding, this is what it is. We’re training in conditions that we won’t be playing in at home, so then if we do get a hot day, we’ll be used to it and we know we’ve trained in hotter conditions. Once you play on a normal day at home, it becomes so much easier and you feel ‘I’m flying here’. There is good knowledge behind it trust me.”
On the young players…
“In possession, they’ve done very well. Obviously Albie [Morgan], we all know all about him technically, there’s parts of his game he needs to improve on and again, I speak to them all the time.
“Alfie [Doughty] has come away, it’s probably the first time I’ve seen him properly. I’ve seen him in and around the training ground, I’ve seen him train, I’ve seen him play, but to actually see him against our lads, because our standard is completely different, so to see him involved in that, he’s done well. Again, there’s a couple of things I don’t like and I’ve told him. Unfortunately, that’s the way the young lads are these days, but again he will listen and he will take on board what I’ve told him.
“Brendan [Sarpong-Wiredu] is the same, there’s things I’m not happy with, but these are young lads and they’re not used to the intensity and the way we do things. But they’ve come here and they’ve given 100% and fair play to them. I’m pleased with them and I’m proud of what they’ve done so far. They’re pushing themselves, they’ve never done anything like this before in pre-season. They’ve done well.
“Ash [Maynard-Brewer] trains with us quite a bit at home. He’s a great keeper, he’s a great shot-stopper, so I know what he’s about. All the young lads, they’re our future, so for them to come here and get this experience is invaluable for them.”
Article by Tyler Rowlinson