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Nathan Smith keen to learn from every defender he plays alongside

17 April 2018

It's safe to say that Port Vale defender Nathan Smith, has had his fair share of central defensive partnerships over the years.

"Smudge" as he is known around the club, has worked his way through the ranks of Port Vale, starting off in academy before making his debut for the club against Bradford back in August 2016 and hasn't looked back since.

Nathan recently reached an incredible achievement of 100 consecutive starts when he started against Wycombe back in March.

Through his time at the Vale however, he's played alongside a number of different centre backs and never really had a consistent partner.That is until recently, with Kyle Howkins solidifying a regular starting position alongside him. 

Despite numerous different defensive partners, Smudge feels it can be beneficial for his own progression.

"Playing with a lot of defenders, some might say it's a negative but you've got to take the positives from it.

"You can learn from everyone you play with, everyone's better at different things and if you pick everyones brains and what they're good at you make yourself a better round player."

Smith has had a tremendous run in the first team side since making his debut for the Vale, but the defender is refusing to get comfortable and relax on his performances.

Despite the club's status as a Football League not mathematically secure yet, Smith not only wants to finish the season on a high but is already looking to improve his own overall performance.

The defender has admitted that despite growing in leaps and bounds, he has had some dips in form this season and wants to learn more about the players he comes up against in the league.

"I'll have different goals going into next year than I did this year and obviously the year previously. I think you've got to learn when to play and who you're playing against more.

"You can't win every battle against everyone, obviously in League 2 there's different strikers you come up  against.

"Akinfenwa and Reed they're two big strikers. You've got the nippier strikers, I think you've got to learn what you got to do against certain strikers and put that into practice."


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