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Burton Albion boss Gary Rowett pleased with athleticism of squad

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 06, 2014

By Tom Sloan

ATHLETIC ... John Mousinho has added both a physical presence and ability on the ball.

ATHLETIC ... John Mousinho has added both a physical presence and ability on the ball.

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GARY Rowett is pleased to have added more size to his Burton Albion side – but is happier with the increased athleticism of his squad.

The Brewers have signed some big players this summer, with goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin, defender George Taft, midfielder John Mousinho and winger Lucas Akins all north of 6ft.

Taft, who could start the season at left-back in the absence of Damien McCrory, stands an imposing 6ft 5in.

But Rowett says the fact these players are good athletes is more important than their size.

"I think it's easy to go and fill a League Two side with a load of big lumps who are going to make it difficult for the opposition," he said.

"We've added size to the team, but we've added size without compromising quality and athleticism and I think that was really important for us.

"What we've done is get really good players.

"And (Ian) Sharpsy can play, he's comfortable. Tafty too.

"John's shown he's got really good passing ability."

Rowett says the new players have been among the best runners in pre-season training and have lifted the standard for the rest of the squad.

Their toughness has also impressed the manager as he looks to plot another season challenging for promotion from League Two.

"We've got that toughness in there as well as that athleticism," said Rowett.

"The thing I like about it is they're all athletic.

"If you'd seen some of the running – and we've done a lot of running alongside the tactical and technical work – all of the new players have been the top runners.

"You've seen that extra level and what it does for one or two of the others is make them realise they've got to get to that level, in that athletic sense.

"I've been really impressed and what they've given us is great flexibility firstly.

"They've given us that size and little bit of toughness."

Rowett reckons Mousinho's presence is bringing the best out of Robbie Weir.

"If you look at Moose, every time he makes a challenge he means it," said the manager.

"I also think if you look at Robbie he's looking in the best form and best shape I've seen him in. He looks fantastic at the moment.

"Maybe John's dragged one or two up with him."

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