Interview: Mitchell Lund loving life at Doncaster Rovers

Mitchell Lund scores in the win at Cambridge United.
Mitchell Lund scores in the win at Cambridge United.

As first senior goals go, the scenario could not have been much better for Mitchell Lund.

The magic of the FA Cup, the chance to put Rovers ahead just a few minutes after providing the assist for the equaliser.

Mitchell Lund

Mitchell Lund

So what was going through the mind of the 19-year-old as he turned in Cameron Stewart’s cross.

“I could not tell you,” he said with a bemused smile. “I don’t know myself.

“I looked at the linesman and then saw Coppinger running towards me.

“My heart just started going.

Mitchell Lund celebrates his first senior goal for Rovers

Mitchell Lund celebrates his first senior goal for Rovers

“You could see from my celebration that I didn’t really know what to do.

“Words couldn’t really describe it to be honest.

“I’m buzzing about it. The FA Cup, into the next round. You can’t get much better than that.”

Conor Grant’s spectacular brace may have seen the Everton loanee take all the headlines from the turnabout 3-1 win at Cambridge United in the FA Cup at the start of the month.

But Lund delivered a superb performance and was arguably Rovers’ top performer.

The Leeds-born defender had a hand in all three goals, including a superb long run from his own half before picking out Cedric Evina who in turn supplied Grant for his stunning second goal.

On top of that, there was a fantastic defensive show as he battled a robust and energetic Cambridge attack.

All of this coming on his return to the side after a rather nasty shoulder injury suffered in the win at Blackpool.

“I thought I was going to be out longer,” he said.

“It was the ligaments in my shoulder, it was quite painful.

“There was no easing back into it. Cambridge were straight in our faces. It was a good test for my shoulder and it held up quite well.

“I’m happy the gaffer threw me straight back in. That’s given me plenty of confidence.”

The faith shown by manager Darren Ferguson has been important for Lund.

He openly admits he was worried about his chances of game time when Paul Dickov was sacked as Rovers boss in September.

Dickov handed Lund his senior debut, started him in the final four games of last season and used him in the side just before being dismissed.

He said: “I didn’t think I’d play as many games as what I have done now.

“I’m very happy with that. It shows the gaffer believes in me.

“I’m still at that learning stage so every game is a learning curve.

“He is helping me quite a lot and hopefully I’m progressing.

“I’m very happy with the number of games I’ve played and hopefully there’s a lot more to come.”

Lund first arrived at Rovers at the age of 12, progressing through the youth set up before being handed his first professional contract in May 2014.

As the club’s hierarchy look to increase the number of youngsters filtering into the first team, the 19-year-old is a shining example alongside Harry Middleton, who has been performing superbly in a deep-lying midfield role.

And being held up as an example is something Lund is happy to live with.

“It’s always good to have someone to look up to,” he said.

“James Husband, when I was in the youth team, I looked up to him and hopefully I’ll follow in his footsteps.

“It’s good for the youth team to see what me, Harry Middleton and Billy Whitehouse have done.

“Everyone helps. I’m always getting instructions and advice from Coppinger, Harry and Craig Alcock.”

Lund’s performances at right wing back will have given boss Ferguson something to think about as Everton loanee Felipe Mattioni returns to fitness.

He may not have seemed the most likely replacement for Mattioni in the up-and-down role after turning in assured and composed defensive performances as a right back since his debut.

But Lund himself explains that getting forward is a big part of his game.

He said: “Hopefully people can see that I can go forward.

“I scored and I created a goal at Cambridge.

“It’s a hard job at wing back, it tests your fitness but I do like getting up and down. That’s my game.

“I still think I need to work on getting forward and keeping the ball. That’s probably the most important thing but I can still work on everything.”

With 13 appearances to his name so far this season, Lund’s primary focus for the rest of the campaign is pushing that figure as high as possible.

“I want to keep learning, play as many games as I can and see where it takes me,” he said.

“I need to take as much as possible on board. I’ve just got to keep working hard and showing people what I can do.

“And hopefully score a few more goals.”