Peterborough United manager Steve Evans is confident the penny has finally dropped for gifted winger Marcus Maddison.
Maddison has only started four of 17 League One matches so far this season.
He’s suffered illness and injury, but he’s also struggled to appreciate Evans’ insistence on hard work accompanying natural ability.
As a result Joe Ward, an unheralded Posh player at the start of the season, and Siriki Dembele, who is playing at League One level for the first time in his career, have usually been preferred in wide areas.
But Evans detected a change in attitude from Maddison during Tuesday’s 2-1 win Checkatrade Trophy win over Luton (November 13).
“Marcus covered 35% more ground in that game than ijn his previous game,” Evans stated. “He was down on his knees with 10 minutes to go which is unusual as he’s a fit lad, but it’s because he had worked so hard.
“Marcus knows, as does the chairman (a big fan of Maddison) and the rest of the group, that if players don’t work hard they don’t play in my teams.
“Joe Ward has shown it is possible to score goals and create goals as well as work hard and I reckon the penny has finally dropped with Marcus.
“I’ve always said he is a gifted player who with his head right is a top player at League One level.
“I like to think I’m a good man manager and I am confident Marcus will respond and play a big part in our push for promotion.
“I am desperate for him to be more involved, but it’s down to him.
“Just look at the quality he delivered against Luton. He created the first goal and delivered some stunning crosses
“His ability is not in question and I hope he has taken on board what I want from my wide players.”
Evans was also pleased with the contribution of other back-up players during the win over the Hatters which ensured Posh progressed to the knockout stages of the Checkatrade Trophy.
“Sebastien Bassong did well for a man who has only played reserve team football for the best part of two years,” Evans added. “He was very good on the ball. He only gave it away once in the first-half.
“Darren Lyon also did well, while Jamie Walker covered the most ground of all the players.
“He was everywhere. He didn’t always produce, but he put in the effort that will get him a game in my teams.”