BROWNE ON THE BALL: In Charley Sanders, has Jason Lee found the man he’s looking for?

Charley Sanders celebrates United's victory over Bradford in last season's FA Youth Cup.
Charley Sanders celebrates United's victory over Bradford in last season's FA Youth Cup.

He didn’t have to think long.

Boston United manager Jason Lee had just spent the past five minutes discussing the bright future he believes Charley Sanders has at York Street.

He gave the thumbs up to the teenager’s physical presence. He half-joked his regular strikers would struggle to keep their places in the starting line-up. He suggested the Pilgrims can get at least 100 matches out of their new young charge before other clubs begin to come knocking.

Therefore, the next question was obvious.

“Is Charley Sanders the next Jason Lee?”

As I said, the United manager didn’t have to think long.

His answer was almost instant. He smiled and, extending his one-word answer to emphasise his point, just replied: “Naaaaaaaaaahhhhh.”

Of course he’s not. In Jason Lee’s mind, there is – quite rightly – just one Jason Lee.

And it’s that attitude – the desire to be better than all his peers and to not only beat, but destroy anyone who dare mark him – which makes the United gaffer so sure he’s a one-off.

Since taking over as Boston boss, Lee has searched for a tough, strong and, in his own words, ‘combative’ target man. Someone who isn’t Jason Lee, but someone who offers the same.

He put his faith in Mikel Suarez and Danny Davidson, but neither had the physical and mental strength Lee showed, even into his 40s, on the pitch last season.

He thought he had found his man in Mickey Stones, but a knee injury ended that almost as swiftly as it had begun.

In the summer Lee looked for that man again. He found Mark Jones.

You cannot be disappointed with the returns the towering forward has brought since his switch from Corby, but Jones is still a very different style of player.

But has he finally found his man in the club’s youth set-up?

After Sanders grabbed his first senior goal during Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Colwyn Bay, Lee paid the 17-year-old the ultimate compliment.

“He’s not Jason Lee. He’s Charley Sanders,” he said, before listing the attributes which impressed him most.

The strength. The aggression. The build. The fearles attitiude.

These were the things Lee likes in the teenager, and they’re not too dissimilar to attributes found a former Nottingham Forest striker quite well known in these parts.

Praise indeed.

“The world’s his oyster right now, he can do anything he wants in the game,” Lee added, before throwing in the but. “If he keeps learning and listening then wouldn’t it be great if we can get a player of his age coming through to the first team and staying and playing 100 games for the club.

“He’s got to improve on everything but all these things will come.”

Jason Lee is never one to hold back on praise for a young player. Nor is he one to damn with false praise.

His words for Sanders were some of the most glowing I’ve ever known him to dish out about a young player.

Now it’s up to the youngster to rpove whether he has the ability and desire to make a place his own.