Drummond: At the end of the day I still want to play football

Jim Bentley, Ken McKenna and Stewart Drummond during the game against York.
Jim Bentley, Ken McKenna and Stewart Drummond during the game against York.
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Stewart Drummond was delighted to be back involved as a player – if only to break the “monotony” of paperwork.

The Morecambe legend spends more time than ever behind a desk as he juggles roles as Head of Youth, reserve team boss and of course, veteran midfielder.

But Drummond, who turns 39 on Thursday, insists he still wants to have a role on the field having returned to his familiar midfield berth in the draw at Stevenage last time out- his first appearance for the best part of two months.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the game,” he said.

“I’m advancing in years et cetera but at the end of the day I still want to play football and I’ve said that to Jim (Bentley, manager).

“I want to be put forward for selection.

“We did a few fitness things last week and I’m still up there with one or two of the fitter lads.

“That’s never an issue it’s just convincing the manager to put me in the team.”

Drummond admits juggling his many different roles is tough but he is relishing the challenge of passing on his vast experience and bringing through the next generation of Shrimps stars.

“There’s a lot of things going on with the youth team, the reserves and the first team,” he said.

“It’s a bit of a balancing act trying to get everything in at the moment which is quite tough.

“We’ve had a sort of an agreement where there’s no point taking me to away games when I might be better served with the youth team if they’ve got games at the weekend.

“The downside of it is all the paperwork that is involved with youth football but you can’t play forever at the end of the day.

“If I can start trying to impart some of my accrued knowledge from over the years to some of the kids then I’ll start doing that.

“It was nice to break the monotony of paperwork with an appearance on Saturday though.”

Drummond is well aware however of how important his newest role of overseeing the Shrimps’ youth set-up is.

Club bosses know full well that their spending power relative to others in League 2 means it is imperative to nurture their own talent.

“It needs to be (important),” he said.

“We’ve had a number of conversations over the last couple of years about how a club of Morecambe’s size needs to have some good young players coming through.

“It’s been a little bit limited over the last four of five years but there’s a lot of movements afoot to try and remedy that.

“A lot of work is being done to try and improve the quality of the young kinds we’ve got and hopefully that will improve over the next two or three years.”

Reserve team is a vital link

Stewart Drummond believes a reserve team plays a vital role at any football club.

Some clubs have elected to ditch a second string for a variety of reasons but the reserve team boss is adamant they are important to support the first team and bring on younger players.

He said: “Last week because Jim was doing a mini pre-season with the lads we had a youthful reserve team at Port Vale that got turned over 4-0.

“It just goes to show the young lads that it’s a big step up from under 18s football to first-team football.

“Myself and Jim know there needs to be a stepping stone and the reserve team set up does that.

“But there’s a different team every week and each game serves a different purpose.

“Whether you’re trying to get first-team lads back fit or whether you’re trying to bring through younger lads.

“It’s quite an exciting role because you have different players to work with every week and different targets in every game.”

Signs good for youngsters

Stewart Drummond’s return at Stevenage saw him take a place in the match-day squad alongside youth team products Aaron McGowan, Nathan Bondswell and Declan Watson.

He said: “It’s good reward for those boys who have progressed from the youth set-up into the first team.

“Hopefully they’ll start to see a little bit more first team action this season and into next.

“It just shows there is the ability out there for Jim to call on if he does need it.

“It’s positive signs for the youth set up.”