I’m not being cruel when I label him that; he burst onto the scene last season and looked set for greatness. He slotted in at left-back in the early part of the season, but had two poor games; one away at Blackpool and the second at home to Portsmouth. That game, which we lost 3-1 was his final League One match, occurring 367 days ago.
For a year, he appears to have been in the wilderness, with just three further starts, against Forest Green in the FA Cup, and Accrington and Shrewsbury in the Papa John’s Trophy. Since then, he has struggled with injuries; he was forced off as the Under 18s lost to Watford in the FA Cup in March, and only recently came back into the side.
It appears he is now in the manager’s plans, as he closes in on full fitness.
“He’s close to being as fit now as he was when he first came on the scene at the start of last season,” Michael told Mark Whiley. “He’s had so many injuries over the last 12-18 months, just as he’s getting into his stride and doing all right. He played in the youth team recently because he needed minutes and he’s been training for a few weeks. He looks like he’s lost a bit of weight and has put a bit of beef [muscle] on in the gym.”
Whilst fitness is one thing, Michael has laid out what it will take for the defender to get into his first-team plans.
“I had a good chat with him and said ‘look, you’ve got to dedicate your life to the game over the next six weeks to give yourself the best opportunity to be in my plans’. Because, come January, we need to make a decision on Sean, whether he’s going to be in and around it with us or we get him out on loan to get some games.”
That decision could be a loan spell in League Two, or even the National League, which would be a massive drop from the rumoured moves to Chelsea and Southampton which loomed over the summer. It does seem as though the ball is in the youngster’s court. One thing that is baffling is how, if he was so unfit, was he allowed to head off to Chelsea and Southampton on trial? He can’t possibly have given the best version of himself to them, and that could have potentially cost us a big transfer fee.
Anyhow, whatever happens, it would be great to see him back around the first team, as he clearly has promise and is still only 18 years old, which means plenty of time to get himself back on track.