Former Sunderland youth prospect Louis Laing needs more of an ‘edge’ to be a top drawer defender.
That’s the view of Hartlepool United boss Craig Harrison, who signed Laing in the summer.
The 24-year-old has impressed in recent weeks after a sticky start to his Pools career, but Harrison wants more from the centre-half.
“He’s got the stature, but I’d like him to have a bit more nastiness about him,” he said. “It’s not easy because he’s a nice guy, he’s the sort who’d apologise after smashing you!
“You can’t change a person’s character, but we’re trying to coax him into having a bit of an edge. We’re trying to get into him a bit more before matches.
“All players are different in their match preparations. Some sit quietly with their headphones on, some are like ‘just leave me alone’ and some need goading.
“Getting to know Louis, he falls into the last category. He needs winding up to let him know he’s in for a battle.
“We as the staff try to do that – one day he might turn around and knock one of us out!
“On the flip side you must give credit to him, it shows thee is a strong mentality, it’s never easy coming back after a bad start, but he has and he’s been brilliant for us.”