Western Morning News
Jephcott’s rapid rise is of no surprise to Canavan
THE goalscoring success of striker Luke Jephcott has come as no surprise to his Plymouth Argyle team-mate Niall Canavan.
Jephcott is the joint top marksman in League One this season with 12 goals from 14 starts and three substitute appearances.
Canavan has seen the stunning development of the 20-year-old close up since Jephcott broke into the first team.
That came during the 2018/19 League One campaign, when Jephcott played several games in a wide attacking role in a 4-2-3-1 formation under former manager Derek Adams. Canavan was part of that squad as well and the season ended in disappointment with Argyle being relegated.
Jephcott began last term on loan at Truro City but returned to the Pilgrims at the start of January and playing as a central striker under Ryan Lowe has not looked back.
The striker scored 20 goals during the calendar year of 2020 and opened his account for 2021 in the 1-0 League One victory over Gillingham at Home Park on Saturday.
Canavan said: “It’s not really a surprise to me. Even when he was playing on the wings (in 2018/19) he was still best finisher in training.
“The small games that we play, he’s always the one putting it in the back of net.
“He picks up really good positions, he has clever movement. He knows how to use his body.
“I think that’s the biggest thing I noticed when he came back from his loan at Truro.
“He knew how to handle himself against other men. He has gone there and worked at that.
“He has played against probably some big old fellas who kicked lumps out of him, elbowed him, and this and that.
“You can see it now. He knows how to buy fouls, he knows how to get his body in front. He holds the ball up well.
“He’s always wanting to do better and he’s really proud of the fact that he gets out there and scores goals, and as a striker that’s what you need to be.”
Jephcott is top of the League One scoring chart with Peterborough United’s Jonson Clarke-Harris, who made a big money move from Bristol Rovers last summer.
The Wales under-21 international has accounted for 12 of Argyle’s 28 league goals this season.
Canavan said: “You would back him every time. It would just be nice to get a few more lads up there with him as well now.
“The sooner we can do that and take the pressure off him a little bit the better. If he keeps scoring and keeps winning us games then that’s fine by me.”
Inevitably, given the success of Jephcott, there will be speculation about his future and possible interest from rival clubs.
Canavan said: “You want to keep your best players and Luke is definitely one of them. He’s the one scoring goals and winning games for us, and we want to keep him here.
“For him, he has got to keep doing it, keep scoring goals, that brings interest in itself. I’m sure the club will do the right thing in looking after themselves and the team with it.”
He added: “The key thing is he’s playing. That’s what you have got to be doing to develop.
“You don’t learn everything on the training ground. You can do so much but games is where you really get the sharpness.
“Jephers is doing it on both fronts so as long as he keeps doing that I’m happy.”