HE’S AD­MIRABLE NEL­SON NOW...

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Ben Baker

PROV­ING age is noth­ing but a num­ber, Plymouth Ar­gyle cap­tain Cur­tis Nel­son is de­ter­mined to bring the glory days back to Home Park.

Af­ter be­ing re­leased by Premier League Stoke City at the age of 16, Nel­son found a new home in Plymouth and quickly found his feet.

Now, still just 22, the de­fender has more than 200 ap­pear­ances to his name and is cap­tain of a side who sat top of the League Two ta­ble head­ing into the New Year and have se­ri­ous de­signs on pro­mo­tion.

That would be a wel­come change for Nel­son who, dur­ing his time at the club, has seen the Pil­grims slip from the Cham­pi­onship to the fourth tier, and twice nar­rowly avoid drop­ping out of the Foot­ball League al­to­gether – whilst bat­tling ad­min­is­tra­tion.

While the task of be­ing cap­tain at such a ten­der age might seem like a big ask, Nel­son doesn’t ap­pear fazed by the re­spon­si­bil­ity, with man­ager Derek Adams and coach Paul Wot­ton – the lat­ter hav­ing skip­pered Plymouth to two ti­tles in three years dur­ing his play­ing days – both prais­ing a wise head on young shoul­ders.

Nel­son says his affin­ity with the club is what helps him take it all in his stride as he bids to keep the Pil­grims on course to climb back up the foot­ball Pyra­mid.

“First and fore­most, it is not about what I do as an in­di­vid­ual but rather what we do as a team,” Nel­son said. “While it is nice to have peo­ple praise my cap­taincy, my main fo­cus is to get pro­moted and any­thing else is a bonus.

“Things have been go­ing well for me and the club this sea­son on the whole but I am just tak­ing ev­ery­thing one game at a time.

“Hav­ing said that, it would mean a hell of a lot for me to get this club pro­moted and to start climb­ing the leagues again con­sid­er­ing how long I have been at the club and what it means to me.

“An achieve­ment that ev­ery foot­baller wants on his CV is to get pro­moted and I am no dif­fer­ent.

“I have been at Plymouth for quite a while al­ready and it would mean so much to me to earn pro­mo­tion.

“Me and the club have been through a lot, what with the dark days of ad­min­is­tra­tion and the rel­e­ga­tions. So to get the club back where it be­longs and where we were would be spe­cial.”

It was for­mer man­ager Peter Reid who first saw enough in a teenage Nel­son to hand him a start­ing role back in Plymouth’s 2010-11 League One cam­paign.

Im­prove

Fast for­ward to this sea­son and the cap­tain has been at the heart of a Pil­grims de­fence that leaked just 20 goals in their first 24 league games.

Cur­rent man­ager Adams has pub­licly an­nounced him­self as part of the Nel­son fan club as well, but the skip­per is adamant his team­mates make his job far eas­ier.

“It is nice to hear praise about be­ing cap­tain, but I can’t take all the credit as the play­ers I have around me really help me out,” he added. “I am still at quite a young age and I still have plenty to learn. I am grate­ful to have such great peo­ple, play­ers and coaches around to help me do that.

“Ev­ery­one is pulling in the same di­rec­tion and that is to get pro­moted. There is also a real drive from be­hind the scenes to im­prove the club in ev­ery as­pect.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

CAP­TAIN MARVEL: Plymouth Ar­gyle’s Cur­tis Nel­son

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