Pair in Tavi loan switch
TAVISTOCK manager Stuart Henderson has added to his squad for the 2022/23 Pitching In Division One South campaign by snapping up Joe O’Connor and Aamir Daniels on season-long loan deals from EFL League One club Exeter City.
O’Connor, 17, is an attacking midfielder and was set to be thrust straight into action for Tuesday’s friendly against South West Peninsula League side Liskeard Athletic, while the versatile Daniels will have to wait for his Lambs debut as he was due to be involved in the Grecians’ first team friendly at Weston-super-Mare.
Speaking of his new recruits, Henderson said: ‘I remember Joe as a young kid on the local circuit, he was at Exeter and he also played for Plymouth Schoolboys and was always the stand out youngster.
‘He played against us and when me and Cal (Davenport) went to watch him in the Devon Bowl final and he really stood out.
‘He was technically comfortable, he has good movement and finds little pockets of space – he’s just a really intelligent footballer and embraces the way I like the game to be played.
“I think he will have a bright future at Exeter but in my discussions with Kev Nicholson, it is the physical side of the game where there are question marks because he’s not the biggest and this year with us will see what he’s all about.”
The versatile Daniels caught the eye of the Tavi coaching staff in our 4-2 Devon Bowl semi-final defeat to a young Exeter side back in March. He played at right-back that day and then left-back in the final, where he again stood out.
Daniels was not initially available for loan, but after some gentle persuasion, the Exeter management team agreed that a move to Langsford Park would benefit the 17-year-old Londoner.
“Cal Davenport was really impressed with Aamir and he was probably the best player on the park when they beat us in the semi-final and he again stood out in the final,” Henderson said.
“Cal was taken aback by this lad and thought his running was really powerful. In the games we saw him play, he played at left-back and right-back, but we feel he can play higher up the pitch as part of his development.
“Athletically, he is really, really strong which fits the model of how I like to play with high energy. Obviously there are areas of his game where Exeter want him to develop and work on, which is natural for a young player, and hopefully being involved with our coaching, our games and the full-time training he gets at Exeter, we can work hand in hand and it is a relationship that benefits all parties.
Exeter’s first team manager, Matt Taylor, added: “Any opportunity to play men’s football, senior football, competitive football always helps young players’ development. We have high hopes for all the players in our Academy and certainly the ones in the 18s at the moment.
“They have to go into that level of football and contribute with performances and hopefully performances that mean points at the end of the weekend because that is what everyone plays for in senior football on weekends.
“The loan market has benefited us so well at all different levels and I am sure it will do for some of you older young ones throughout the season, but we are grateful to Tavistock for taking our young players and giving them an opportunity.
“But they have to compete for a first team place, first and foremost. These young kids have to go out and not only perform, but get in the team, but if it goes well, then it doesn’t just bode well for ourselves, but Tavistock and the players’ pathway into our first team.”
Having taken Harry Lee on loan from the Grecians last season, this latest move underlines a growing partnership between two clubs that are leading lights when it comes to player development in Devon.
“We are delighted to build that partnership with Exeter – like we will be with Plymouth when they look to loan players out – but it has to be a two-way street,” Henderson added. “They have to be players that are right for us, we were offered another player, but felt we were well stocked in that department and declined the offer, but Joe offers something to us.”
Sponsorship for both players is available and for further details, please email [email protected]
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