Alan Dunne believes Leyton Orient youngster Aron Pollock can be 'top defender'
PUBLISHED: 17:00 10 November 2016
Simon O'Connor Photography
Ex-Millwall captain impressed with 18-year-old centre back and rest of teenagers who played for O's on Tuesday night
Leyton Orient defender Alan Dunne has backed 18-year-old team-mate Aron Pollock to have a big future in the game.
The ex-Millwall captain played at the heart of O’s defence on Tuesday alongside the teen at Brighton & Hove Albion.
Although the east Londoners lost 1-0, Pollock was one of a number of Orient’s youngsters to catch the eye.
Dunne said: “Aron needs games and to be tested. Like all of us he will makes mistakes because we all do. With defenders if we make a mistake more often than not it gets exposed as a goal whereas any other part of the field you can get away with it.
“But he is learning all the time and has all the attributes to be a top defender. Like I’ve said he needs games and he will make mistakes. What is important is how he bounces back from them.
“He will go through ups and downs in his career and it is the character you show to come through which is key and Aron is the sort of lad who has the ability to come through. I really enjoyed playing with him at Brighton.”
Pollock burst onto the scene last season and was named on the bench for Orient by previous boss Ian Hendon at Stevenage in January.
Although he didn’t get a first-team chance until the end of the campaign, the youngster caught the eye of former player-manager Kevin Nolan and was a regular in his match day squads.
Having impressed on his debut against Mansfield Town and then at Yeovil Town on the final day, Pollock agreed a professional deal in May.
It was hoped he would be given more opportunities this season and that proved the case under Andy Hessenthaler, but the young defender has struggled with tendonitis.
A difficult match against Fulham in the English Football League Cup was followed by a tricky substitute appearance during a home defeat to Yeovil Town in September.
But Pollock bounced back with an assured display at Southend United last month and looked at his best on Tuesday night.
The academy graduate was not alone with Myles Judd, just 17, catching the eye after replacing Jens Janse at right-back.
“I think there is no fear in youngsters when they go into a game and and there is no pressure on their shoulders,” said Dunne.
“Aron done really well at Brighton and Myles came on and dealt with a difficult player like Kazenga Lualua. I thought he did well.
“There are good signs for the young players and we have to bed them in, but at the moment points are vital for us.
“I think there is a fine line between dipping them in and jeopardising someone, although if they do go in I have every faith they can perform given the chance.”
Dunne, who progressed through the Millwall academy, believes Orient’s talented teenagers would have learnt a lot from the match at Falmer Stadium.
In addition to Pollock and Judd, the likes of Josh Koroma, Sandro Semedo, Victor Adeboyejo and Henry Ochieng were given an opportunity to impress.
“It was really positive with the youngsters. To come to a place like Brighton in this stadium knowing you are going to be playing a decent footballing side is a great experience and test for them,” said the 34-year-old.
“I love playing in games when I’m helping the young boys and it reminds me of when I was that age. I think there were a lot of positives and they’ll learn from this because it was a good test, but we were disappointed with the result because nobody likes to lose.”