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Sierra Leone star has a top mentality, says Kretzschmar

Max Kretzschmar has been impressed by the attitude of Kallum Cesay and sought to take him under his wing during the crucial run-in.

The 21-year-old Cesay signed on a permanent deal from Tottenham Hotspur in February and ended up being thrown in at the deep end after the team inadvertently got sucked into a National League relegation battle because of a fixture pile-up.

Cesay ended up playing nine games in just under one month as the Stones, in the end, finished in the relative safety of 16th. It's an experience the versatile attack-minded player is unlikely to forget.

"I was trying to talk the young players through it," said Kretzschmar on the latest episode of Stonescast. "Kallum has got a really bright future. His mentality strikes me more than the way he plays. I've seen many players from the top clubs who play like he does but his mentality is different. I made a huge effort to talk to these players and how we need them to step up. I had players doing that to me when I was 19, so I was really keen to pass that on."

Cesay showed his maturity in the run-in and a key role in ensuring the Stones will be playing National League football for a fifth successive season.

"We got the job done and that's the most important thing," said Cesay. "Sam [Cox] was calm and just stressed how important the [Oldham] game was to the club. I'm just thankful that the fans warmed to me and they helped me a lot. They've been great."

The Sierra Leone international has played right back, right wing-back, played in similar roles down the left and even found himself in the No.8 role at home to Eastleigh.

"I could play anywhere," he said without a trace of arrogance. "That's not a problem. "I'm just happy to play."

Interim Manager Cox explained his decision to play Cesay, who he worked with at Spurs, in a more advanced role at home to Eastleigh.

"Cesay was almost playing at the top of our box," said Cox. "We identified that in them [Eastleigh] and having seen Kallum previously, I felt he could run and take players out of pockets and leave spaces for Tarryn. That was tactical thing we wanted to implement."

*Pictures by Jon Taffel


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