Matt Lecointe told to prove his worth to Plymouth Argyle
ENGLAND under-18 international Matt Lecointe has been challenged by manager Carl Fletcher to prove he is good enough to be a regular part of his first team plans at Plymouth Argyle in 2012/13.
Lecointe, 17, has stepped up to the professional ranks at Home Park after only one season as an apprentice.
Last term, the promising striker from Higher Compton was thrust into the first team by former Pilgrims' boss Peter Reid because he had such a depleted squad as the club fought to survive administration.
It was sink or swim time for Lecointe, and he responded superbly to the challenge.
From Monday to Friday,
Come and enjoy our special menu at £12 per person for 3 course-meal.
Not in conjunction with any other offers.
From Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner.
Subject to availability.
Contact: 01752 424381
Valid until: Wednesday, July 31 2013
He ended up making 22 appearances, including 11 starts, last season and scored two goals, as well as earning an England under-18 call-up.
Lecointe hopes to build on that in the forthcoming campaign but, equally, he is not taking that for granted.
He told Herald Sport: "The gaffer (Fletcher) has said to me if I work hard I will be in and around the first team squad.
"But he stressed it was all down to me, and no-one else could help me."
Lecointe, a former Ivybridge Community College student, admitted he had been 'excited' to be handed a professional contract by Argyle.
He said: "When I started as an apprentice last summer I would never have thought that I would have played for the first team by now.
"So to make 22 appearances is just amazing. All my friends and family are proud of me and I want to try to carry that on for next season."
There are bound to be high expectations for Lecointe in 2012/13, despite his young age, after the impact he made in the first team last term.
But the teenage prospect is determined not to be distracted by that sort of talk.
Lecointe said: "You have got to forget about what everybody else is saying about you.
"Obviously, there are going to be times where you go through low spells and have your high spells.
"It's how you deal with your lows that's going to make you a better player."
Lecointe admitted a role model for him at Argyle was former promotion-winning skipper and midfielder Paul Wotton.
Like Lecointe, the 34-year-old was born in Plymouth and graduated from Argyle's youth set-up.
Wotton has gone on to make a total of 456 appearances for the Pilgrims in two spells, returning to Home Park in January after leaving League One outfit Yeovil Town.
Lecointe said: "Wottsie has played a lot of games. You look up to him.
"You look at the way he trains, you look at his attitude and you look how he helps the young lads.
He's just a role model to me really, and I will try to follow in his footsteps."