DANNY WILSON has thrown down the gauntlet to Reuben Noble-Lazarus – and urged him to get assertive in his quest for a first-team return.
The Huddersfield-born player, who burst onto the scene for Barnsley in making his debut against Ipswich Town in the autumn of 2008 at the age of 15 years 45 days to become the club’s youngest-ever player, has represented something of an enigma since to Reds fans, displaying glimpses of his potential, but not on a regular basis.
Nearly six years on from his bow, Noble-Lazarus, 21, who has featured just once for the Reds this term, has been challenged by Wilson to make him pick him by way of positive displays in Under-21 games with the message also applying for others.
Wilson, ready to do battle with former club MK Dons this afternoon, said: “With Reuben, it is exactly the same as it was before. It is up to Reuben to push himself into the team.
“When we have the Under-21 games and training sessions, younger players have to understand that is the impressing time, from my point of view.
“You cannot just go out and waltz about. I am not saying any of the players do; and least of all Reuben. But they are the times you really have to impress and put pressure upon me as a manager and open my eyes and say: ‘This lad is doing fantastic.’
“That is how they are going to be able to push the players in front of them to one side.
“Sometimes, the penny drops too late and one or two wished they had done it before who aren’t at the club at the moment.
“The way football is you have to be selfish and really single-minded to be the one in the team. Rueben is in that position and has to push himself and really make sure everyone is noticing what he is doing as we feel he has got the ability, no doubt about it.”