Hull City: Jamie Devitt interview

When winger Jamie Devitt returned from his loan-spell at Grimsby last season, he knew he had a massive campaign ahead of him at parent club Hull.

The winger has been on City's books since he was a teenager, still wet behind the ears following a move from his native Ireland.

But it was only this season that he knew a potential break into regular first-team action would arrive.

Unfortunately for the 20-year-old, his plans haven't exactly been

executed with the military precision he envisaged.

Things started brightly enough for the midfielder, making a notable cameo in the opening day win over Swansea.

But since that appearance he has only managed 90 minutes once in a black and amber shirt – a Carling Cup defeat at Brentford.

That would hardly resemble the progress Devitt would have liked to have made when planning the campaign in the bubble of pre-season optimism.

Great things may be on the horizon, however, certainly if reserve form is anything to judge Devitt's case on.

While he may have struggled to get past the bench under boss Nigel Pearson, Devitt has impressed in the Tigers' second string.

His last two appearances have seen him plunder seven goals, with deserved praise following up close behind.

Devitt bagged a hat-trick against Leeds in a bizarre 6-3 loss at Elland Road before going one better and scoring four against former employers Grimsby.

That virtuoso showing against the Mariners earned the plaudits of assistant manager Craig Shakespeare in a sign that the Irishman's hard-work wasn't going unnoticed.

And Devitt now feels the purple patch will give him a spring-board to make a wide slot his own in Pearson's first-team plans.

He said: "It's great to have been in amongst the goals for the reserves. I've been playing behind the forwards in the last two games.

"It's a different role to what I've been used to so far in my career, but obviously I've enjoyed it immensely.

"It gives me that extra little bit of freedom to go where I want to on the pitch. I'm not too bothered where I play, though.

"Like most players I just want to be playing first-team football and I want to be doing that for Hull City."

Devitt came through the ranks at the KC Stadium in the same team as Tom Cairney, Liam Cooper and Mark Cullen.

His colleagues have perhaps gone on to make more of an impact in East Yorkshire, however Devitt feels he isn't far behind his more esteemed team-mates.

Loan spells at Darlington and Shrewsbury helped the youngster gain some vital experience in his quest to kick-on at his parent club.

Those stints came while Dubliner Devitt was still in his teens, and while he has now passed the wrong side of 20, he knows only a repeat

formula will help him become a regular in a Hull jersey.

He went on: "When you're my age, you just want to be playing as many games as you possibly can, preferably in the first team.

"Hopefully my performances for the reserves will have made an impression on the manager and the coaching staff.

"Playing for the reserves gives you the chance to show what you're capable of when you're not featuring in the first team.

"It's your chance to show the manager that you want to be in his plans and hopefully I've done just that."

If anyone needed an appraisal of Devitt then they need look no further than the south bank of the Humber.

Where team-mate Nicky Featherstone failed at Blundell Park – the Goole-midfielder ended his spell in North Lincolnshire under a cloud of acrimony – Devitt was able to flourish in a 15-game swansong.

His five goals in Town's ultimately fruitless battle against the Football League drop were in vain, but it was the talent and desire that caught the eye of the Grimsby supporters.

Maintaining that flair in City's reserve ranks has earned him the praise of backroom staffer Shakespeare, who reckons Devitt has undoubted ability.

Now, the number-two wants to see the prodigy produce that skill in the cut-and-thrust of the Championship when the opportunity arises.

Shakespeare said: "Jamie's a player who we've seen come to the fore over the last two or three months.

"No-one doubts his ability – he can score goals, he's good at free-

kicks, his delivery is excellent – we just want him to transfer that into the first team.

"When he's had that opportunity, the impact has been mixed and he needs to take the game by the scruff of the neck and impose himself.

"That's what we've tried to speak to him about.

"We're trying to encourage him because without a doubt he's got ability. He's a young lad and if he can impose himself, he has a big future."

Devitt has four appearances to his name at the time of writing, and they have all come during a time where City have struggled to blaze a

trail in the second tier.

It's a factor Shakespeare acknowledges has prevented the wing wizard from seeing more game time, and indeed sprinkling magic on proceedings.

But he knows patience will pay off, allowing Devitt to shine.

Shakespeare added: "He hasn't got much experience but Jamie's chance will come again and we've been really pleased with what he's done of late in the reserves.

"Possibly, we would have put him in if we were higher up the table. He can count himself unlucky at times not to have been included but that's because he's a footballer.

"Sometimes we've had to go a little bit stronger. He's done really well in patches but we want him to sustain that form a little bit more."

Devitt admits he is unaware of his mentor's gushing assessment. Instead, he just hopes actions speak louder than words when his time arrives.

"I haven't read the story because I was away with the team at Middlesbrough but I got a few text messages saying 'Shakey' had given me some praise in the paper.

"It's always pleasing to hear positive comments about yourself, especially if the coaching staff are the ones giving you the praise.

"But it's up to me to deliver the goods on the pitch. I just want to push on now and reproduce my form for the reserves in the first team."

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