Carl Magnay – accidental hero or inspired decision?
From the outside, it’s hard to tell after the defender was thrust into action in midfield and has produced stand-out display after stand-out display in the early throes of the season.
When Magnay was one of the 10 summer signings it seemed he would be battling for a place at the back – either as one of the three centre-halves in a 3-5-2 or as a wing-back.
Instead, the Geordie, signed from Grimsby Town, has been installed as the defensive midfielder in a three-man unit with Michael Woods and Nicky Featherstone.
Magnay has been nothing short of magnificent. He is certainly pushing Billy Paynter and Adam Bartlett for the accolade of signing of the summer.
Boss Ronnie Moore admitted injuries just before the start of the season transformed his thinking from a 3-5-2 formation to 4-3-3, though don’t rule out the return of the former.
It looks like it is now time to perhaps hail Moore and sidekick Sam Collins for an inspired signing and tactical master-stroke.
“I was as surprised as anyone when it happened,” he told SportMail.
“You’d have to ask the gaffer!
“I was expecting to be either right-back or the right-sided centre-half.
“It happened in training just before the end of pre-season. I was out on the field here at Maiden Castle and they said ‘Maggers, sit in front of the back four’ and that was it.
“There was no prior conversation –I wasn’t sat down and told ‘we feel like you can do a job’.
“It was just one moment in training and it was a case of get straight in there and get on with it!
“I’m obviously pleased he’s had the confidence and awareness to put me in there.
“He clearly feels I can do a job in there and having the faith of your manager fills you full of confidence.
“It’s a position I’ve always loved. I’ve only played it once or twice competitively throughout my career.
“Those cameos were great – it’s all action, I like to get my foot in and like to play too.
“I feel like I’m using more of my strengths when I’m in there.
I’ve always liked to pass the ball and playing in this position rather than the back lets me do that.
“This position suits me down to the ground but it’s a role I want to keep learning and getting better at.”
Magnay is certainly making his mark – he was flawless at Fleetwood and York and while, like others, his performance dipped a little against Newport, his display was one of the prime reasons Pools made it three wins from three in the league.
“It’s been a very positive start,” he said. “We had a very tough pre-season, probably the hardest most the lads have ever been through.
“But I think we are seeing the benefits of that now.
“A 100 per cent record, four wins in all competitions and three clean sheets, you can’t ask for much more.”
That 100 per cent record will be tested at Stevenage tomorrow. While the Boro have yet to win – a 2-2 draw at Newport has been their only point, sandwiching two 3-0 defeats – Magnay says Pools will take nothing for granted.
Moore and Collins’ side will start as favourites against Teddy Sheringham’s team, but it’s not a tag which interests the midfielder.
“Even if some people think we are, our mindet is not thinking about that whatsoever,” he said
“We’re taking each game as it comes.
“I think we have are mentally strong squad, we’re not just good footballers.
“We’ll apply ourselves exactly as we have done so far.
“Stevenage are trying to play a different brand of football, getting the ball down and trying to be clever in and around the box, a bit like when Teddy was a player, I suppose.
“That’s going to take time for them to adjust to the new way of playing.
“I’m sure they will click at some point but hopefully we can go down there and do the business.”