RR: How would you sum up Elliot Embleton’s time at Grimsby so far?
SM: He’s made a big impression.
We could have gone down again last season but we scraped together enough points to hang on with a new manager for the last few games. Move on to this season and Embleton joined us at the end of August.
The new manager was bringing in his own ideas and wanted team members who could play passing football. He has also given game time to younger players and Embleton has slotted very nicely into this. It took a while to bed in but you could see what the manager was trying to achieve. Embleton is a player marked out by his energy and enthusiasm.
He stands out in the team as one of the best passers of the ball and his crossing skills have come more to the fore. He has set up a number of goals recently.
RR: He’s an England youth international and very highly thought of. Do you think he’s capable of playing above League One?
SM: From what we’ve seen yes he is. He has a degree of composure which is probably one of the differences you see in players who are capable of playing in higher leagues. He has an ability to get into space and he can play both left and right which makes him a tough player for the opposition to pin down.
RR: When Elliot isn’t in the team, is it noticeable ?
SM: The team are playing well together and now we are on the up. To date he’s made 21 appearances for us, 18 in the league. When he’s in the team it works really well. His link up play with Clifton, Vernam and Thomas and running from midfield is superb. When he’s not in the team we miss him, there is less creativity.
RR: In our U23s side he’s often been asked to play in the centre of midfield, either as a deep-lying playmaker or as a number ten. For England he plays off the left hand side as more of an inside forward. Where has he played for Grimsby, and where would you say is his best position?
SM: I’d like to say midfield because he is creative and things develop from his passing and movement but he’s also scored a few for us!
He is a very talented player and paired with someone similar, he’ll swap sides, move around, run from midfield. It makes him hard to play against but he is equally capable of playing more towards the wing lining up a few deadly crosses.
RR: If you could be ultra-critical of Elliot, where would you say his game needs work?
SM: He is clearly one of the most skilful players on the pitch but occasionally that is not obvious because he can fade out of games.
Getting regular first team football will improve that.
RR: He’s out of contract in the summer. How much importance would you place on Sunderland tying him down?
SM: If I was Sunderland I’d want to tie him down. You would be mad not to. He’s going to play at a higher level very soon and I’m sure other clubs will have been watching him this season.
If you sign him up and go up, he will be a useful player for you.
If you don’t tie him down he will probably be off and you will see nothing for him.