MICK Wadsworth admits that the “rotund” exterior of Nathan Luscombe isn’t that of your stereotypical midfield dynamo.
But the Pools boss won’t be demanding any crash diets or cross-country runs in a bid to refine the youngster’s appearance.
Rather, Wadsworth argues that Luscombe is among the fittest members of his squad and has the football brain to boot.
That view was supported by the 21-year-old’s eye-catching showing during last night’s 3-1 win at Blyth Spartans.
The former Sunderland trainee pulled the strings from the centre of midfield against the Conference North outfit and covered every square inch of the Croft Park turf.
That came after an equally-impressive second-half cameo at home to Barnsley just 24 hours earlier.
And Wadsworth told SportMail today: “Yes, he is a little rotund but he is one of those players and you have to accept that – but there is nothing he can’t do physically.
“You think ‘flipping heck’ when you look at him, but he gets around the pitch and his aerobic capacity is as good as anyone.
“He has strength, power and cleverness.
“He’s very good on the ball and we’ve seen in the matches already this summer that he can burst away from his man.
“He can pick a pass and has had a very good education up at Sunderland so we’ve got a player who comes with a good pedigree.”
Wadsworth even drew a comparison between Luscombe and John Robertson, the portly former Nottingham Forest winger who won two European Cups in 1979 and 1980 under the guidance of ex Pools boss Brian Clough.
“There have been a lot of players who look like they’re carrying weight but in fact there as fit as anybody,” he went on.
“Years and years ago I remember John Robertson, the left winger at Notts Forest who had two European Cup winners’ medals.
“He was dumpy but he could do the job and was a terrific player.”
In fact, Clough later wrote of Robertson, ‘Rarely could there have been a more unlikely looking professional athlete. He was a scruffy, unfit, uninterested waste of time but something told me he was worth persevering with’.
Wadsworth didn’t quite stretch to those lengths, but any likening to Robertson is nonetheless is a flattering one.
And the Pools chief believes Luscombe could play a big part for Pools this term.
“He’s a lad who was more than happy to drop down from Sunderland and rebuild his career, and I liked that,” he said.
“He impressed us at the back end of last season and that’s why we got the deal done in good time.
“He’s got to try now and win a place in the side but he’s made a very good start and I think he will be a quality addition to the squad this season.”