Chesterfield veteran '˜brought to the side' to give younger group a chance
Veteran Michael Nelson has been '˜brought to the side' to give younger players a chance, Martin Allen says.
But the Spireites manager insists he hasn’t disrespected the centre-half or other older players.
Nelson started 12 of the first 13 games of the season, but has only been in the matchday squad once since then.
Playing the 38-year-old so often wasn’t ideal, Allen says.
“I’m sure every supporter can realise playing Saturday-Tuesday was going to take its toll on Michael’s performance, and it did – let’s not mess about,” said the boss.
“But Will Evans was injured and couldn’t come in, so Michael had to carry on, we didn’t have anyone else.”
Injuries to a number of his more experienced players forced Allen into a re-think about his team.
“I thought it was important to change the dynamics of the whole group,” Allen explained.
“When we got Will back fit, but Robbie, Drew and Shwan were injured, it’s kind of fallen onto my lap that the younger players now would have to take responsibility.
“They have to take decisions, take responsibility for our team performances, with a philosophy we were going to adapt as a young group without those senior players involved.
“Callum has come into the team, Will has come in, Smith has come in at right-back, Joe Rowley has come in, Shaw is now playing every game, Muggleton has come in to play left-back.
“We’ve got a younger group now.”
Allen says he briefed Nelson on the change.
“I sat in this office and explained you’re going to be separated a little bit from the group because I want the younger players to have their own ownership, opinion and their own way.
“The senior players, who were more influential earlier in the season, have just been brought to the side a little bit.
“Not disrespected, I’m not binning them off and being rude to them, but just to say this is what’s happening now.
“Drew has been brilliant with me, Robbie, Shwan and Michael Nelson have been superb.”
And the manager believes the younger players in his squad have responded well to the extra pressure on their shoulders.
“These younger players it seems to me are thriving, growing and taking responsibility themselves, rather than the more experienced players being the key ones.
“I had to do it.”