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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Thursday, September 24th 2020

Mawson taking the lead

Alfie Mawson has stepped in to play a key role in the heart of City’s defence, which has kept three clean sheets from a possible four at this early stage in the season.

Having arrived on a season-long loan from Fulham, Mawson has featured twice for the Robins: the 4-0 win over Northampton Town followed by Sunday’s 2-0 victory away to Stoke City.

He took the captain’s armband on his City debut, when Tomas Kalas had to depart early into the Northampton fixture due to injury and Head Coach Dean Holden made him skipper for the trip to the bet365 Stadium.

But centre-back Mawson describes himself as a natural-born leader.

“I see it as a massive honour,” Mawson said, reflecting on being given the responsibility so early into his time with City. “Tomas went down injured in the Northampton game and I had a joke with him ‘you’re going to have to take the armband off’, then he gave it to me!

“I know myself that I’m a leader, with those qualities, so what better time than to put it on then at that moment. It felt right, I took it on myself then I gave it to Tayls (Taylor Moore) when I went off. Before the Stoke City game the gaffer said ‘Alfie’s captain for the day’ and I was ecstatic, really happy and I wore it with pride.”

Having played his part in City’s 100% winning run, Mawson looks on such a positive start for the team who face Premier League opposition Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup this Thursday (September 24th, 7pm KO).

He is staying grounded though is not surprised by the Robins’ electric start to the 2020/21 campaign.

He said: “We can’t get ahead of ourselves too much, but four games and four wins is the main thing. Being a centre-half who wasn’t part of the first two [games], it’s been two clean sheets so I’m very happy with that. It’s a good platform to play from.

“I’m not surprised at all. When I spoke to the gaffer (Holden) and the CEO (Mark Ashton) about coming here I said I wanted to be part of a club that’s pushing for promotion. I keep saying it, but I’ve come here to help do that. We definitely have the squad to do it, as we’ve shown in the performances, and it’s a club definitely going places.

“I’m happy to be part of it but it’s nothing you’re not seeing on the training ground. Everyone wants to do the right thing, everyone is for the team, the core message is about being together and we know people will make mistakes, there will be bad games, but we have to drag each other through.

“There are no egos in that dressing room…it’s a solid group of lads who know how good they are and it’s a really good place to be.”

And Dean Smith's Villa - who battled hard to keep their top-flight status last term - under the Ashton Gate lights presents possibly City’s biggest challenge on paper so far this term.

“It will be tough one,” Mawson said. “Their squad speaks for volumes with top quality players. They stayed in the league last year, they came together when they needed to and picked up quite a few points from the last games to keep them in the league, so they’ve shown they can go and beat teams.

“We need to test ourselves against them and ultimately, we want to be in the Premier League, we want to play these teams. It will arguably be our toughest test so far but if we can’t rise to it, I don’t know who else we would want to play against.”

He added: “We respect them, throughout they’re a very good side. But we can’t give them too much respect otherwise they’ll punish us. It will be a good test; we’re doing well and we’ve got to take that into it.”

Watch in full: Mawson previews Aston Villa clash

 

Follow City in the Carabao Cup Round Three

City fans in the UK will be able to watch the Carabao Cup Round Three match against Aston Villa on the competition’s official streaming site – Carabao Cup Live – for just £10.

The winner of the Round Three tie will face Stoke City or Gillingham at home in Round Four.

WATCH ON CARABAO CUP LIVE

A live audio pass for the Round Three fixture is available on Robins TV for £2.50.

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