MAG­I­CAL MAL’S VOL­LEY GOOD SHOW

Left-back Ben­ning scores two crack­ers

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Nick Lough

IT’S one thing to score a stun­ning vol­ley from over 20 yards out to win League Two Goal of the Week, but it’s an­other to do it two Satur­days in a row.

Maybe a striker could man­age the feat, but a left-back? Yet that’s ex­actly what Mans­field Town de­fender Malvind Ben­ning has achieved with his two stun­ning strikes in the space of a week.

Spec­tac­u­lar

Hav­ing opened his ac­count with a spec­tac­u­lar long-range free-kick on the open­ing day of the sea­son, Ben­ning’s back-to­back scream­ers against Da­gen­ham & Red­bridge and New­port County have earned him nu­mer­ous ac­co­lades from fans and pun­dits alike, but he ad­mits his won­der­ful vol­leys have sur­prised him more than any­one else.

Ben­ning told The Foot­ball League Pa­per:“I re­ally don’t know where they came from! I said to my dad af­ter the Da­gen­ham game that I didn’t think I’d ever do that again – even in train­ing.

“It’s one of those where the ball has just fallen and you think ‘why not have a shot and see what hap­pens?’ One time it might go over the bar, but the next it could go in.

“There is an el­e­ment of luck in that they’ve gone in, but I wouldn’t say too much – I’ve man­aged to hit them sweet. It is tech­nique and I’ve worked hard on that. I’m glad it’s paid off.”

The 21-year-old left Wal­sall in the sum­mer af­ter his con­tract at the Banks’s Sta­dium wasn’t re­newed, but Ben­ning in­sists he is far hap­pier now play­ing reg­u­lar foot­ball with the Stags, hav­ing started ev­ery match in the league so far this sea­son.

“I was in and out of the team at Wal­sall, but I’m thank­ful to them as they were the ones that helped me get into foot­ball” he said.

“I’m en­joy­ing the reg­u­lar foot­ball and I’m go­ing to work hard to try and stay in the team and play as many games as I can, which is one of my main aims this sea­son.

“It’s not nice to be re­leased, but it was the end of my time there and (man­ager) Dean Smith told me it was best for me to go and play games.

“Mans­field came about and it was a good op­por­tu­nity for me af­ter hear­ing what the man­ager Adam Mur­ray had to say. I’m happy I’m here now.” With the Stags rid­ing high in the play-off places in League Two, Ben­ning is full of praise for rookie boss Mur­ray, 34, who signed a new con­tract on Fri­day, al­though its length re­mains undis­closed.

“I think he is a great man­ager, one of the best I’ve worked with,” he said.

“He knows the game in­side out, he played for a long time and I’m learn­ing quite a lot from him.

“He’s fo­cused on the ar­eas of my game I need to im­prove on and worked on them with me in train­ing.

“I’m en­joy­ing it all at the mo­ment and I think I can learn a lot from him.”

Born in Birm­ing­ham, Ben­ning comes from an Asian back­ground with his fam­ily all orig­i­nat­ing from Pun­jab, In­dia. Al­though he has plenty of time to de­cide about his in­ter­na­tional fu­ture, the young de­fender is in no doubts who he’d rep­re­sent if the op­por­tu­nity came about.

Poli­cies

“I’ve said in the past and I’ll say it again that I would def­i­nitely play for In­dia, but it’s up to their poli­cies which I be­lieve need chang­ing,” he added.

“There are tech­ni­cal­i­ties like hav­ing to swap your Bri­tish pass­port for an In­dian one which is one of the main rules stop­ping play­ers from do­ing it.

“If that does change I’d be look­ing to go into it as soon as pos­si­ble, if I get the call-up that is.”

PIC­TURES: Richard Parkes

TECH­NIQUE: Malvind Ben­ning nets his won­der goal in the 3-0 romp against New­port County OUR HERO: Team-mates hug Ben­ning af­ter his goal, left, and the team cel­e­brate the vic­tory, right

PRAISE: Stags boss Adam Mur­ray has im­pressed de­fender Malvind Ben­ning

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