Devante Rodney can be a success at Hartlepool United

Devante Rodney attacks for Hartlepool United against Maidstone United. Picture by FRANK REID
Devante Rodney attacks for Hartlepool United against Maidstone United. Picture by FRANK REID

Craig Harrison is confident Devante Rodney will go on to become a successful striker – once he gets some miles on the clock.

The teenager is making progress at Hartlepool United, with Harrison saying it will take time.

Devante has done well over the last couple of games, he just needs to get over that 60-minute mark

CRAIG HARRISON

When Rodney smashed in a brace in the space of 10 dramatic minutes in the final half of last season – goals which almost kept Pools in the Football League – big things were expected of him .

However, Harrison points out that the former Sheffield Wednesday youngster is still only 19 with little in the way of experience.

The manager gave him his first start at Guiseley last Monday as the right-sided forward and then retained the jersey against Maidstone on Saturday, when he put in his best display in a blue and white jersey.

Fatigue got the better of him and he came off in the 62nd minute, with Harrison saying the club has a piece of great raw talent on their hands which they must develop.

“Devante has done well over the last couple of games,” said Harrison who is likely to send him out again this Saturday against league leaders Dagenham & Redbridge.

“He just needs to get over that 60-minute mark.

“Devante’s worked himself into the ground.

“He’s not played an awful lot of minutes over his career to build that stamina and resilience up.

“Physically he is a specimen, but it’s not to say that you are going to be endurance-fit.

“It comes with experience. A young player is bound to be a little nervous and some of that nervous energy can reduce your overall energy.

“That is something we’ve got to work on, we need to up his stamina.”

Harrison though has liked what he has seen but says patience will be a virtue crucial in his progress.

“Devante is very fast and explosive,” said the former Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace left-back.

“In my time I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to play against him – he has pace and strength, he needs to keep learning.

“I’d say probably 65 per cent of his potential has come out so far, there’s still quite a bit to go.

“That will come with experience, coaching and learning.

“He will have his good days and bad days, but the lad’s only 19 years old.

“But he’s 19 with low levels of football experience because of injuries.

“When you talk about elite athletes, there is a 10,000 hour mark to get to where they are.

“Devante has missed two or three years of everyday coaching and playing.

“Tactically, technically and physically he is going to be behind because of all the hours he’s missed.

“He’s probably missed 20% of optimum learning time between the age of 15 and 20, so he’s still playing catch up.

“There’s raw potential there.

“But don’t just do it once or twice,you need to do it 15 times before you can call yourself a player.”