Mikael Mandron

Mandron's family focus

by Stuart Vose

Level-headed youngster eager to carry on learning.

Mikael Mandron is looking forward to spending valuable time with his family before returning to the UK in time for pre-season training.

The French youngster, who turns pro this summer, has experienced a whirlwind 2012-13 campaign – starting the season in the youth team and ending it as a member of the senior squad.

Family is an important influence on the striker – “I’m happy to make them happy”, he says – and the whole Mandron clan have been keenly following games to get a glimpse of him.

And the softly-spoken giant is relishing the chance to decompress as well as spend quality time with the loved ones he leaves behind in France for much of the year to follow his football dream.

“I think I’ll prepare the same way I did last summer and just go home and relax and rest for a week or so, to get football off my mind for a bit,” he said.

“After that, I’ll start getting fit again, running, going to the gym. I’ll go out with my friends, see my family –  just do normal stuff.

“I will be at home around my family and not play football – maybe I will play a little, I can’t help it!”

Meanwhile, new head coach Paolo Di Canio now leads his side into his first close-season in charge and Mandron feels he’s certainly benefitted from the Italian’s guiding hand.

Indeed, he’s eager to learn more from a man who is considered one of the greatest forwards to have played the game in recent times and whose CV shows more than 120 senior goals.

“He’s [Paolo Di Canio] been great, he’s trying to coach me and make me improve and me develop in training," said Mandron, who hails from just outside Paris.

“I think it’s great how he treats everyone the same, the young ones, the older ones - he’s trying to make everyone improve and get everyone involved.

“The way he does things he makes you feel like you are part of the group.

“He gave me my chance twice and I’m very pleased with that and I’ve got to thank him for that.

“He gives a lot of tips and advice in terms of positioning, movement and how to attack the space, how to attack the box and how to cross and get away from your defender and things like that.”