Waterford ace Austin Gleeson admits preference for attacking role

Austin Gleeson admits he prefers playing in the half-forward line but doesn’t yet know what position best suits him.

The electric Mount Sion 20-year-old operated in a half-back berth for most of the 2015 season although he alternated between it and a wing-forward spot in the All-Ireland quarter-final win over Dublin to good effect.

If Waterford are to become a more offensively-minded side next year, it’s believed Gleeson will move forward but he’s not certain of where he can be most effective or what Derek McGrath has in store for him in 2016.

“The week before the quarter-final, Derek came to me and was explaining what was going to happen. I was happy enough. To be honest, I don’t know where I want to play because wherever I go I will probably be changed again.

“Playing the half-forward line, I like it ‘cause I can be more direct when I get the ball and run at players, which I like doing. Yeah, probably more around the middle than instead of always having it in the back of my mind to watch a man. If he changes the tactics and wherever he decides to play me I’ll be happy with it whatever.”

Gleeson pinpoints the All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Kilkenny as his first major introduction to senior inter-county hurling from a physical point of view. “There were times in the game it was boys against men, even around the middle of the field, the hits you were taking. It was unbelievable, I remember in the first half Michael Fennelly hit me and it took me two or three minutes to even get over that hit because he’s a big man.”

Delighted to say “a buzz” has returned to hurling in Waterford, the Munster semi-final draw with Clare has whet his appetite for next season. “It’s going to be my first time coming up against Clare so I’m really looking forward to it.“


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