‘It has become my home’ – Jorge Grant talks Lincoln City, captaincy and more in an SW exclusive

Credit Graham Burrell

Midfielder Jorge Grant is already the subject of speculation this season, with an expiring contract and scintillating current form.

Whilst it would be remiss to single out players from an effective team performing well, Grant has been a player who has caught the eye, not just for his ascendency to vice-captain, but also his goals and assists. In recent weeks, with Liam Bridcutt out injured, Grant has been playing as captaining, something that he always wanted at some stage of his career.

“It’s a completely new role to me,” said the 26-year-old as I caught up with him over the weekend. “I have always wanted to be a captain and I didn’t think it would happen as early as it has. It is an honour to captain the side when Brids is out of the team and I think I’ve handled it quite well. I’m not quite as vocal as Brids is, but I am vocal and I try to do it off the pitch as well. I’ve really enjoyed it though.”

Credit Graham Burrell

Not only have we seen the former Nottingham Forets man in the unfamiliar role as captain, but he has also featured much deeper at times. Again, with Liam Bridcutt injured, Jorge has been playing deeper in midfield, often switching to his usual wide left position and sometimes in a more advance midfield role. For many fans, playing deeper is a new facet to his game, something he admits to having worked on in recent years.

“The defensive side of my game probably wasn’t there form a young age, but in the last two or three years, it has come on a lot. I probably was a flair player at 21 or 22, but I didn’t do as much as I should have off the ball.

“Over the last two years, especially on the left of a 4-4-1-1, you have to do your defensive duties and if you don’t, you’re not in the team. That was one of the discussions I had with the gaffer, that it needed to develop and I think I do much more at both ends of the pitch now.”

Grant has demonstrated effectiveness at both ends of the field, bagging plenty of goals and assists. Whilst some of his goals have come from 12-yards, he also has a penchant for the spectacular. Combining both is crucial for him hitting his self-imposed target this season.

“I only score easy goals if Brennan wins me a penalty! I’ve obviously been playing much deeper this year, so to still have goals in my game is pleasing as I haven’t been wide left as much. My aim this year was to get to 50 career goals and I think I have five or six to get now, so that’s my aim.”

Credit Graham Burrell

The big question on everyone’s lips is whether Jorge will still be an Imp come the start of next season. Michael Appleton has already spoken on the subject, as has Jorge, and I did get an indication of how settled he is at Sincil Bank. This interview is carried out as part of the club programme feature for Boxing Day, so to broach the subject outright would be remiss, but Jorge reiterated how comfortable he is here, after four loan spells whilst at Forest and other moves coming close.

“I did feel a bit of a nomad early in my career, I felt like I couldn’t really get settled anywhere. There were times when I got close to leaving Forest and the move didn’t happen and it was tough at times.

“When I came here, I said I wanted Lincoln City to be my home and it has become that. I am really settled now and I’m really happy at the moment too.”

Whilst anything can happen in football, it is certainly refreshing to hear that one of our prized assets is settled here.  We’re hoping here at the Stacey West that, in conjunction with our anonymous overseas fans, we can continue to sponsor his shirt beyond the summer, maybe even as we move into the Championship.

It’s odd seeing this in an article, as it has been my laptop wallpaper for a few months now – Credit Graham Burrell

I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing Jorge, like almost all of the squad this season he is open, chatty and willing to endure my sometimes rather generic and formulaic questions. Doing a piece for a club programme can be challenging, treading lightly around contentious issues but also trying to get something different, an angle that hasn’t been tried and tested, and that is even more evident when chatting to a player the fans already know well. Last season, although most of the lads were great, there were a few times I’d hear who I had to interview and know I had a challenge to get 1,000 words plus a bit for myself. Once or twice, I would shiver when the subject came through, knowing that of the 1,200-word target, at least 800 would be filler from me and you guys wouldn’t get an article at all. I’m not saying they weren’t nice guys, I can only think of twice over my four years writing for the programme I’ve spoken to someone I felt was a bit of a bad egg, but this year we do seem to have much chattier players (and I haven’t interviewed Anthony Scully yet…).

This season is very different, all the players are open without being revealing and comfortable talking about themselves as well as the team. Okay, it might be much easier when the side is settled and doing well, but from my first chat this season (Liam Bridcutt) to Jorge, I haven’t had a single moment where I think I might only have half an article and no more questions. Maybe that is reflective of the type of characters being brought to the club, the much-heralded great team spirit that we keep hearing about, or maybe, at the age of 42, I’m just finally getting better and talking to people. I like to think it is the former, a strong set of lads led by Brids, Jorge and the manager but all in a good place in their careers. I keep hearing we only have 15 outfield players – maybe the silver-lining to that is that those players all feel included, focused and eager to stay on at the club and be a part of the journey.

You can read the rest of the Jorge interview, including him talking about some of the key moments of 2020, by picking up the matchday programme for the Burton Albion game here