How some wise words helped Kyle Hurst get off the mark for Doncaster Rovers

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Doncaster Rovers aren’t blessed with the privilege of an abundance of coaching staff to work with players on every aspect of their game and more.

But what they do have is a manager who played the game at the highest level in this country and enjoyed scoring and assisting plenty of goals.

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That wisdom comes in handy when you pick up a young player from your former club not too dissimilar in how he plays the game and in need of polishing up.

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Gary McSheffrey gives instructions to Kyle Hurst in the win over Salford City.Gary McSheffrey gives instructions to Kyle Hurst in the win over Salford City.
Gary McSheffrey gives instructions to Kyle Hurst in the win over Salford City.

In case you hadn't already guessed, that player is Kyle Hurst, a winger snapped up from Birmingham City on a free transfer this summer.

The 20-year-old grabbed his first two goals in professional football last weekend to give his new side a 2-1 win over much-fancied Salford City.

"We just try and do what we can throughout the working week that we have got time to do,” McSheffrey said of any individual training his players receive.

“We make sure we're not flooding the players because there’s a lot of games.

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"I’ve given Kyle a few good tips already, really focusing on his end product and trusting his left foot, not just always cutting in on his right.

"He is an inverted winger and in the modern game you get a lot of them coming in off their good foot from the opposite side.

"He’s got a great left foot as well, so he needs to trust it. If you have got the ability to go down both sides, full-backs won’t know what you are going to do.

"It’s been those sort of messages, rather than loads of work on the grass.”

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Rovers fans will have spotted Hurst switching from the right wing to the left and back again as part of Doncaster’s fluid tactical approach.

"At times you want them on their natural side,” said McSheffrey, who added: “Strikers need to know what type of crosses are going to be coming in.

"If they have the ability to pay both sides then it's a great weapon to have and if they can go both ways it’s great.

"We are experimenting with him at the minute. He can do both sides.”

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McSheffrey spotted something he liked after Hurst starred for Birmingham in a friendly match and got himself on the scoresheet.

He did enough on trial during pre-season to earn a two-year contract at the Eco-Power Stadium.

"I spoke to a good few people about him, his time at Birmingham and you’re always going to get mixed opinions but the majority were good.

"There's something in there ready to be put on the dancefloor and let him show you what he can do.

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"We’d like to think his first couple of goals in professional football will give him that confidence to play with the shackles off and really express himself.

"But at the same time we understand that we can’t expect too much from him. Don’t be disappointed if he has the odd poor game because he’s in his development phase.

"We want him to be as consistent as he can but it's his breakthrough season, so not everything is going to go swimmingly smooth.

“He’s definitely one for the future and we’re delighted he’s at the club.”