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  • Writer's pictureDylan Bhundia

Allan Campbell

This article featured in the official Luton Town matchday programme for the game against West Bromwich Albion (19/2/22), in the 'Dylan's Diary' column.

There’s only one man that this column could be centred on. He’s lit up Kenilworth Road with three goals in his last ten games, two of them stunners from outside the box. But his game is so much more than that.

“You can see the crowd getting behind him because I think they can see themselves in him.”

That’s what manager Nathan Jones said after Alan Campbell’s late rocket sealed a crucial win against fellow play-off chasers West Bromwich Albion, sending the Hatters two points from sixth place.

But that goal only made up only five seconds of what was a complete ninety minutes in central midfield from the former Motherwell man.

Covering every blade of grass against a technically able midfield of Alex Mowatt and Jayson Moulomby, Campbell showed his characteristic tenacity and aggression, jumping on his opponents’ first touches to deny them time and recovering the ball seven times throughout the game.

That intense mindset combined with sky-high physical levels has proved a potent mix this season, and it’s no surprise that the man described by Nathan Jones as ‘one of the best young midfielders in Scotland’ has translated his success North of the border to England’s second tier.

Campbell sits with the 8th highest defensive duel success rate in the league (64%) for central midfielders, a remarkable feat given his lack of Championship experience and the fact that the Hatter’s player-marking, high pressing style means that he engages in a very high number of duels per game.

What Campbell is now showing is the goal threat and intelligent movement in the final third that he showed in previous years at Motherwell. His first goal for the club against Bournemouth came after he peeled off the opposition midfield to receive between the lines, drive forward and smash home across goal, with his third last weekend coming after neat combination play with Cameron Jerome and a thunderous finish from distance.

Luton’s summer signing has always exuded confidence when out of possession, but he’s now taking that aggressive, dogged and determined attitude to his work with the ball, backing himself to carry the ball more often and not being afraid to unleash efforts from range.

Allan Campbell and Luton Town just feels right. On his first day as Luton manager in January 2016, Nathan Jones said that he wanted to create a team that Kenilworth Road could be proud of. Campbell epitomizes that because he makes Luton fans proud to watch their team. He’s young, hungry, aggressive, brave, plays at an intensity that is through the roof and has that ‘never say die’ attitude that is embedded so deeply within the fabric of the club.

He’s the type of player that gets people off their seats not because he can play flashy forward passes and carve chances out of the nothing, but because he defines the relentless attitude that has got Luton to where they are today.

That’s why fans “see themselves in him”.

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