Gary Hamilton says he’s baffled how Rhys Marshall is still plying his trade in the Irish League.
The 21-year-old produced another five-star performance for Glenavon on Saturday, scoring the only goal in the win over Coleraine.
Marshall was a driving force for the hosts in central midfield and his boss labelled him a ‘manager’s dream’ afterwards.
“He’s a talented boy, I’ve been saying it for years how he is still playing in this country is beyond me,” he said.
“Obviously it’s to our gain at the minute, but I just don’t know how he’s not playing in England.
“He’s a manager’s dream, he can play right back, left back, centre half, centre midfield or on the wing. He even played a game at centre forward for the Under-19s and scored a hat-trick!
“Rhys is one of those kids who you could put anywhere and he could do a job for you. I could probably even stick him in nets and he could do it as well as he’s a gaelic player too!
“He’s a talented individual and he has struck up a great partnership with Mark Sykes in midfield at the minute.
“I feel sorry for Andy Kilmartin at the minute as he hasn’t done anything wrong, but these two have got in there and built up a great partnership with their youth and their energy and the ability they have.
“Probably last week against Dungannon was the only time they haven’t dominated the midfield. Whether they’re up against two or three in there they have consistently been on top.
“Andy and Ciaran Martyn have to wait for their chance to come along and be ready to take it when it does.
“He scored one today and was unlucky not to get another, but there’s a row in there at the minute as ‘Skinner’ is trying to claim it as well, we’ll have to wait until we see the highlights to see who got it!”
Hamilton was also full of praise for teenage defender Caolan Marron, who produced a very assured performance at the heart of the Lurgan Blues defence.
“For an 18-year-old we are talking about him week in, week out. He’s a really good player with a lot of potential, if he keeps his feet on the ground he has a chance,” he said.
“To be honest the back four didn’t have much to do today because the front six were so good.
“When Tuffey was called upon he made a couple of great saves, but their keeper has had a lot more to do than ours today, and we deservedly won the game.”
Opposite number Oran Kearney made six changes to his side with Tuesday night’s League Cup semi final in mind, and he admitted Glenavon were worthy winners on the day.
“We led a bit of a charmed life at stages, they hit the post and Michael Doherty has made a couple of good saves,” he said.
We had a few decent chances too but over the course of the 90 minutes you have to say Glenavon were the stronger team.
“But the strongest team doesn’t always win the game.
“The chance James McLaughlin has right at the end was a great chance, I don’t know if maybe he thinks he’s under a bit more pressure than he is.
“The speed he took the ball at we all recognised he was behind the line and he had time, and I expected him just to take the ball in his stride and finish it.
“But his perception of where he was at was different and he rushed it and slashed at it.
“I said to the boys I take full responsibility for the last couple of games, and on my head be it.
“The key thing now is after we have made the decision to do this, and I’m craving a huge effort and a big performance on Tuesday night.”