Morecambe boss Jim Bentley has hailed the transformation in Callum Lang after the striker reached double figures for the season.
The Wigan Athletic loanee’s 10th goal in 18 appearances since breaking his duck in December earned the Shrimps a 1-1 draw against Carlisle United at the weekend.
It placed him joint top of the club’s goalscoring charts for this season alongside Kevin Ellison going into the last four games of the League Two season, starting with the trip to Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.
“He’s getting better and better and people can say we should have started him at the start of the season but he wasn’t ready,” Bentley said of the 19-year-old, who joined the Shrimps on a season-long loan at the end of August.
“He came in and was very quiet; he was an outsider looking in and, when we did drip feed him in, he missed a chance at Stevenage and one against Luton Town – but we thought that if he got a chance then he’d catch fire.
“We then played a friendly match against AFC Fylde and he missed quite a few chances.
“Then he scored with the last kick which seemed to give him a lift.
“He was full of beans so it was like going from one extreme to the other.
“I go back to a goal Tom Barkhuizen scored at Portsmouth; as soon as he scored that goal he arrived because, before, he was a little bit stop-start, he was snatching at things and didn’t have that composure.
“Now, every one-on-one he (Lang) gets, he sticks away; the players get around him and he’s a likeable lad.
“The staff and the crowd love him and, one he got that goal, he was up and running.
“Then, once he got his first goal against Coventry, he grew in stature but he’s got to learn when to put his foot in because he has picked up a couple of injuries and had some time out.”
While keeping everyone’s feet on the ground concerning Lang’s need to improve on the defensive side of his game, Bentley believes the teenager’s goalscoring record offsets any concerns about his injuries.
“However, he might have had a couple of injuries but for a 19-year-old to have 10 goals – and the time in which he’s done it – is great,” he said.
“He’s become a fans’ favourite and they like to see him on the pitch – and to have 10 goals is fantastic for him and for us as well.”