RHYS – THE MAN FOR ALL SEASON!
NEXT time Jose Mourinho starts whingeing about fatigue and fixture congestion, the Manchester United boss should have a word with Rhys Bennett.
And with Steve Evans’ Stags sitting ninth in the table pre-weekend, Bennett is aiming for 5,130. That’s eight more league games, two playoff semis and the final at Wembley on May 28!
“If I can play every minute of the season and win promotion at the end of it, I think you could say I’ve earned my summer holiday,” laughs Bennett, who was signed from
Unlike any of Mourinho’s malingering millionaires, the Mansfield defender has played EVERY minute of EVERY game in EVERY competition this season.
That’s 38 League Two games, six in the Checkatrade Trophy and one each in the FA Cup and EFL Cup.
It adds up to a grand total of 4,140 minutes. Rochdale in June after four seasons at Spotland. “I knew I’d played every game, but it wasn’t until the EFL tweeted the stats this week that I really stopped and thought ‘Yeah, that’s decent’. “Obviously. there could be teams who’ve played more injury time or had better cup runs, but in terms of the minutes available I’m on 100 per cent.
“I’ve got a good few friends in football and some of them got in touch.
“They were like ‘How are your legs? Aren’t they hanging off ?’ But they’re not. I actually feel perfectly all right. And I’m quite an athletic player, always up and down the pitch.
“It’s great for me because I played only 18 times last season through injuries and niggles.
“Now, let’s see if I can keep it going to the end of the season.”
The 25-year-old also paid tribute to manager Evans, who replaced Adam Murray in November with the Stags lying 18th in the table. The former Rotherham and Leeds boss has since won 12 of his 25 games. “He’s got a lot of experience,” adds Bennett, who won promotion from League Two with Rochdale in 2014. “That’s nothing against Adam, who is a very talented young manager. “But the gaffer has changed little things, brought in new players who’ve added that extra bit of quality to the squad. We went unbeaten for nine or ten games.
“All of that has instilled a belief that we are good players and, if we perform to our maximum, we will win games.
“He’s also got the fans behind us.
“We’ve probably doubled the attendances. We’ve got a singing section. He’s done nights where fans can go and ask him questions.
“He’s brought everyone – players, fans and staff – a lot closer.”
EVER-PRESENT: Mansfield’s Rhys Bennett, right, has been a permanent fixture and, inset, Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho
IMPACT: Stags boss Steve Evans
OUT FRONT: Northampton’s David Buchanan