Hard for Argyle to keep ex-City loan ace
Stewart Yetton says Plymouth Argyle will find it difficult to keep hold of 16-goal striking sensation Luke Jephcott, writes Gareth Davies.
The White Tigers’ player-assistant boss was speaking on transfer deadline day when, despite much speculation, it was confirmed Jephcott, who spent the first half of last term on loan at Truro, will remain an Argyle player until the summer at least.
However, Yetton feels that if Jephcott continues to score goals at his current rate, then clubs further up the footballing food chain will come ‘sniffing with big money sure to be offered to both player and club’.
Despite the attention he is currently courting, which isn’t likely to abate any time soon, Yetton revealed that Jephcott’s ‘down to earth’ nature won’t be affected by ongoing speculation.
“It will be very hard for Argyle to keep hold of him,” Yetton told the Voice. “That’s just the nature of the beast when the big boys come sniffing.
“His age means that big teams will be coming but whether Argyle can fend them off is another matter. Luke is a really down to earth lad and when he was with us, he spent most of the time on the coach with his mouth open, catching flies, with his head against the window fast asleep.
“He obviously needed a lot of sleep and we barely heard a word out of him. Seriously, though, I think it is nice to see a striker doing well and he’s not a target man who can hold the ball up or rapid fast. Jeph’s isn’t like that at all and he’s really good with his back to goal.”
Yetton added that after Jephcott’s loan spell at Truro finished in December 2019, it would be a case of when, rather than if the 21-year-old would force his way into the plans of Pilgrims boss Ryan Lowe.
“I definitely thought he was going to have an impact on Argyle’s first team, but when that would be, we weren’t quite sure,” Yetton remarked.
“Obviously, when we took him from Argyle, it was a great coup for us as the year before, he had played and been in and around the Argyle first team. Getting him was quite big for us although Wottsy’s (Paul Wotton, manager) contact and link with Argyle probably helped.
“When we used to watch him train it was clear that he was a good player. What is interesting is that we always knew him as a finisher, because he has great technique. But since going back to Argyle, what I have been impressed with is his predatory instincts.
“A lot of his goals for Argyle are poacher’s goals, but he’s also a great footballer and that is why he has been so successful. You can’t just be a finisher in the box and get away with that.”
It was then put to Yetton that without his spell at Truro, Jephcott may not have reached the heights he currently occupies. This notion was dismissed somewhat with Yetton heaping praise on Jephcott’s attitude, whilst acknowledging the struggles of a young professional desperate for game time. Something the 35-year-old, who began his footballing journey at Plymouth Argyle, can resonate with.
“First and foremost (Jephcott) has to take the credit because he has put the hard yards in - that lays squarely at his door,” Yetton said. “Secondly, we have just given him a platform to go out and play and enjoy his football.
“I have been a young lad who has been at a pro club and in and around the first team. You get very unhappy if you’re not playing football and with a new manager coming in at Argyle, he needed to go away, play games and put himself in the shop window.
“He came to us and really enjoyed his time at Truro - he was always happy around the club. Maybe that just gave him the platform to score goals. His goal contribution for us was about one in every two games and he was still training with Argyle as well.
“I think Argyle were creating lots of chances but not scoring. Their manager saw that he was scoring goals in training and coming to us really sharpened him up. You need to play games when you’re young and he was getting better with every passing week by playing.
“You could see he had class and ability. Everyone is talking about his goals, but I don’t think the rest of his game gets enough credit.”