BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Lee Bowyer says he will carry on being a tough taskmaster on Macauley Bonne – because it will take the Charlton striker’s game to another level.
The Addicks manager was publicly critical of the former Leyton Orient striker at stages of last season and told the South London Press earlier this week that the frontman was “too soft” in the Championship.
But Bonne came in for praise after last weekend’s 3-1 EFL Cup win at Swindon Town. He netted his first goal of the season in the victory in Wiltshire.
The question is whether the Ipswich-born 24-year-old can be right near the top of the scoring charts.
Asked about what he expected from Bonne this season, Bowyer replied: “He can improve – and that’s what he will do.
“The one thing I guarantee is he’ll improve again. From the player we received last year to the player we have today there’s a massive difference. I can’t tell you how big a difference – it’s frightening the way he has developed in one season.
“People say at times I’m harsh on people and at times I’ve said stuff – but I do it for a reason. Because I have to push him. If I just accept a performance that I don’t think is acceptable but I just accept that as okay then he’s going to stay at that level – that’s how it works.
“For me to push him – that’s my job.
“Since I did criticise Macauley he has improved again loads.
“Part of my thing with Macca is to forget the goals – it is what he does in front of goal, because he needs to improve on that and be an all-rounder. You see what we did with Lyle [Taylor] – he is now an all-round striker. For Macauley to be that and go to another level he had to improve.
“With his physique he should be stronger and bullying defenders – that’s what Lyle ended up doing. Macca was too soft. So I had to criticise and push and push him.
“The reason I praised him last Saturday was he was nigh-on unplayable from a physical aspect. We have to tidy up certain things and that’s what we’re doing. If we get that physical side then we’re laughing.
“Too many times last season he was too soft for a lad of his size. Now he is using his physicality much, much better and retaining the ball better for us.
“I’ll criticise players when I think it is right, but also praise them, and I’ve done that with Macca. He is moving in the right direction – but I will keep pushing him. No doubt I will criticise him again and praise him again – that’s my job, because I do this on a daily basis. I’ve criticised Lyle, I’ve criticised Pearcey [Jason Pearce], I’ve criticised [Darren] Pratley and the young lads – because then they’ll improve.
“They will improve and my team will improve. Sometimes you have these rough diamonds that as you make them better and better your team gets better and better.
“That’s why I want Macauley to go up another notch or two.”
PICTURES: KYLE ANDREWS AND PAUL EDWARDS
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