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Hamilton: I want to repay manager's faith

7 February 2019

Versatile wing-back CJ Hamilton says that he wants to repay the 'belief' instilled in him by manager David Flitcroft, after starting every game in Sky Bet League Two this season.

The 23-year-old has displayed red-hot form this season in a number of positions.

Despite speculation in January, Hamilton says the thought of leaving the Stags never entered his head, saying that he always planned to stay at the club and repay the faith put in him by the manager.

"I'm glad that it [January] is over and I'm happy to be here," he said. "Obviously we can push for promotion now.

"It [speculation] affects people in different ways but I don't think it affected me. Mentally, it was just people asking questions all of the time.

"I wasn't going anywhere and I knew that. People knew that but would ask me the same questions.

"I wanted to stay here, 100 percent. I wanted to push for promotion and that's been the plan since the start of the season.

"With the gaffer putting his belief in me and playing me so much this season, I wanted to repay him.

"It was a confidence boost that some teams were willing to put seven figures towards your name. That's when you know you're doing well."

"With the gaffer putting his belief in me and playing me so much this season, I wanted to repay him."

CJ Hamilton, wing-back

Hamilton attributed his rise in form this term to manager David Flitcroft, who he says has 'massively' helped him.

"I just like to be out there. I enjoy football a lot and I like to be out there learning as much as possible. 

"He [manager] has massively helped me. The first day he came in, he put his arm around me straight away.

"He's helped identify where I need to get better and what I need to work on. I've been doing that ever since and it's been paying off.

"A bit of confidence can change a player. It can change them from a six-out-of-ten to an eight-out-of-ten without really even noticing.

"I don't think I'm a confidence player, because I always try to be confident. It just depends on the game, opponents, there's lots of factors.

"My fitness has been up there - I've played nearly every single minute. It's about keeping yourself fit and doing the right things on and off the pitch."

Stags' No.22 noted that this season's squad has a 'different' feeling compared to previous campaigns, due to the way they operate as a unit.

"The last few years we've been getting towards the play-offs and dropping out at the last minute, but this year it's different," he added.

"We've been winning a lot more games, and the defensive record that we've got has been something completely different compared to what we've had in previous years.

"We're beating the better teams at home - we have good home and away records. That's important in this league.

"In previous squads it was more about the individuals rather than the team. We have very good individuals this year but we all work as a team.

"Everyone is fighting for each other, which you can see with the result against Colchester and some of the late winners we got."

Hamilton has played a number of positions this season, including wing-back, winger and striker. 

He explained that being deployed in different positions has improved his versatility as a player.

"Compared to when I first signed here, I'm playing lots of matches. This season I've played almost every game, [been] scoring a lot more goals and helping the team out.

"I feel that I've progressed very well seeing as I've played in numerous positions. I've done different jobs this season and it's made me more versatile.

"You have to be more careful [at wing-back] about when you go [forward] and when you don't go.

"You can leave a big hole - sometimes you have to be more careful defensively and pick when you go forward."

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