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Luke Leahy is always looking for Shrewsbury advantage

Luke Leahy has put it down to experience in helping him become one of the leaders on the pitch for Shrewsbury Town.

Luke Leahy of Shrewsbury Town jumps in the air as he enters the pitch before the game (AMA)
Luke Leahy of Shrewsbury Town jumps in the air as he enters the pitch before the game (AMA)

The versatile Leahy, who was the first of Steve Cotterill’s eight summer signings, often cuts an animated and enthusiastic figure during the heat of battle.

Leahy, who turns 29 next month, is a veteran of almost 200 games in League One. His stints as a regular for both Walsall and Bristol Rovers finished with relegations in the second season at either club. But, after a steady start in Town colours, he has blossomed into one of Cotterill’s key men over the last six to eight weeks.

The former Gas captain, given the armband by Joey Barton last term, is often first to gesticulate to officials during matches and his all-action displays mean he is never far from the eye of a storm. “I just try to get any advantage I can, I suppose,” Leahy said with a smile.

“If it’s at the ref, if it’s against the opposition or even if it’s just to spur on other team-mates. I just want to win – and hopefully we can do that.”

Coventry-born Leahy, who will be playing close to home when Town head to non-league Stratford Town in the FA Cup first round on Sunday week, believes a confidence to express himself and a leadership style has come with the wisdom of time.

“I think it’s experience,” he added. “Experience is quite a big thing in football. If I was 21 or 22 I probably wouldn’t be doing that and would probably just keep quiet and worry about my own performance.

“But as you get older, you see the likes of Tom Bloxham and everyone coming through, you want them to do really well.

“Although you worry about your own performance, you make sure you get them through the 90 minutes as well.”

Leahy last week admitted ‘it shouldn’t be that way’ when asked about a left wing-back-turned-central midfielder being near the top of Town’s goal charts.

He netted his third goal of the season with last Saturday’s late fourth against Cambridge, in another outing in which he caught the eye. Happily, though, for all involved – he was surpassed at the top of the pile by striker Ryan Bowman, who moved on to four goals with his memorable hat-trick.

Leahy was just 19 when, after playing non-league for Rugby Town, he ventured north of the border following a series of unsuccessful trials, to join Falkirk, the Scottish lowlands second tier outfit placed geographically between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Steven Pressley initially used him in and attacking role. Leahy enjoyed five seasons with The Bairns, clocking up more than 150 games.

“When I was 20, 21, it was keep your mouth shut and get on with it,” he recalled. “Now I’m getting older, and with the amount of games you play, you see lads coming through and I’m doing what I’d have wanted when I was a young kid. I’m enjoying that sort of role, it comes with experience.

“I got rejected from a few clubs, Peterborough and Birmingham, and thought Scotland was my last chance. It was the best decision I ever made really.”

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