Lecointe looks comfortable in midfield as young talent thrives
England Under-18 international Matt Lecointe could see more midfield action for Plymouth Argyle in the future.
Usually a striker, the talented teenager made an impressive cameo appearance playing in a deeper role in the 0-0 npower League Two draw against Torquay United at Plainmoor on Saturday.
Lecointe was a 57th minute substitute for 19-year-old Luke Young and took over from him in the centre of midfield as part of a 4-1-4-1 formation.
Lecointe, 17, showed a good touch and vision on the ball and was always ready to receive possession, regardless of whether any opponents were around him or not.
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The composure of the former Hyde Park Junior School and Ivybridge Community College student, in the heat of a Devon derby, was admirable.
Argyle manager Carl Fletcher insisted he had not been surprised by the smooth way Lecointe slotted into his unaccustomed midfield role. He paid tribute to the coaching the prospect has had as a youngster at Argyle from, among others, Academy manager Kevin Hodges.
Fletcher said: "I'm quite lucky with my young players. They are all technically good.
"They have had a good upbringing through the youth team under Hodgie, and they have spent a lot of time with the first team now.
"Matty can play anywhere, really. It is the same with Youngy and Simsy [first-year professional Jared Sims]. They are all good footballers, so you can put them on anywhere," he added.
"I think people probably forget Matty is still only 17. He came on [against Torquay] and got a grip of the game and showed what he can do, which is pleasing."
Lecointe accepted his first professional contract at the Pilgrims in the summer, after making his first-team debut at the age of 16. He has made three starts and two substitute appearances this season.
Lecointe has not scored yet this term, although he did convert his spot-kick in Argyle's penalty shoot-out defeat to Burnley in their Capital One Cup second-round tie at Turf Moor on August 28.
"If you put Matty in midfield, he has got that desire to get forward because it's a natural instinct for him," added Fletcher, who also described the spate of injuries which have struck Argyle as 'just one of those things'.
Five players were on the casualty list last weekend. Nick Chadwick (calf), Paris Cowan-Hall (hamstring), Rene Gilmartin (knee), Rhys Griffiths (calf) and Jamie Lowry (ankle) were all ruled out.
That led to Fletcher making a move to sign Aldershot Town striker Guy Madjo on a one-month loan before the trip to Torquay. The Pilgrims' boss admitted none of the injured players had been close to contention at Plainmoor.
Fletcher said: "Last season we didn't have any injuries. We were very lucky. This year, it has all come in one little spell, and I think sometimes you get that in football.
"You can never really put your finger on why. There's no reason. It's just one of those things. We're trying to look into every little detail to make sure we get everyone fit and available for selection."
Captain and centre-back Darren Purse and long-serving midfielder Paul Wotton both played against Torquay despite not being fully fit.
Fletcher, who has not put a timescale on when any of the injured players will be ready to return to action, said: "Pursey has had little injuries the last few weeks and Wotts played through the pain barrier on Saturday."