Dara O’Shea praised the defensive performance of his teammates in this season’s Checkatrade Trophy having picked up the award for the player of the round.
The accolade, which covers all three of the group games, was presented to Dara for his sterling performances against Yeovil Town, West Ham United under-21s and Bristol Rovers which saw the Grecians keep three clean sheets and qualify for the knockout stages by winning the group.
“It feels great,” said Dara, who is on loan to the Grecians from West Bromwich Albion. “It is nice to be recognised for your performances. I think I defended well from the fact that we kept three clean sheets, but I think as a team we defended really well. We showed we could defend when we had to and then we attacked and we scored goals as well.”
Dara beat fellow nominees Callum Butcher (Mansfield Town), Aaron Connolly (Brighton & Hove Albion under-21s), Luke Matheson (Rochdale) and Toby Stevenson (Charlton Athletic) to the award following a fan vote. Supporters of both West Brom and City backed their player and Dara admits that makes winning the accolade all the more special.
“It is nice to know the fans are behind you and that people are voting for you,” he said. “It is a good feeling to be recognised and for them to have put the votes in.”
Manager Matt Taylor was also pleased for Dara and says he is doing well and making his mark in the first team.
“He has been excellent and he has helped us keep those clean sheets,” said Matt. “It is a different type of game to what he plays on a Saturday and we are still after that development and improvement which he has started to show in recent weeks in terms of his league form as well.
“He is learning. He is a young defender and we are grateful to West Brom for allowing him to come on loan to us and we are developing him as best we possibly can.
“Those Checkatrade Trophy games have prepared him for his stint in the first team in terms of his league outings. He is not the finished article because he is a young defender, but he will be a seriously good player and we are lucky to have him and he is making his mark at the moment.”
Up next at St James Park:
City take on Tranmere Rovers on Saturday, March 2 in a 3pm kick-off. Ticket prices are cheaper in advance. Click here to buy online.