O’Donnell out of his comfort zone at Tynesiders

JJ O'Donnell in action for GatesheadJJ O'Donnell in action for Gateshead
JJ O'Donnell in action for Gateshead
Moving out of his comfort zone was a huge part of JJ O’Donnell’s decision to move to Gateshead last week, writes Mike Simmonds.

The 22-year-old signed on Friday for a month after recently completing a similar spell at struggling Hyde.

O’Donnell said: “It’s out of my comfort zone, moving away from home for the first time, but Jon Shaw always speaks very highly of everyone at Gateshead.

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“It’s always important when you come to a club that you think ‘I’m going to enjoy my football as a player’, and I do honestly think I will do that at Gateshead.”

O’Donnell made his debut for the Heed during their 2-2 draw at Grimsby on Saturday .

He had another 90 minutes in the 1-1 draw at home to Welling on Tuesday night and admitted it was Heed’s style of football that was also a deciding factor for him.

He continued: “Gateshead showed at Luton they do try and pass the ball.

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“They’ve got a good surface up here and a good manager in Gary Mills who knows how to get out of this division.

“For me as a footballer, especially in the Conference, where it is a physical league, I need to be in a team where they do get it down and pass.

“Otherwise it’s pointless me being on the pitch.

“Gary Mills is a great philosopher of that, getting the ball down and passing it around. Hopefully I’ll enjoy my stay here and it will be a successful one.”

O’Donnell certainly wasn’t eased into life at his new club, as after signing on the Thursday, he was flung straight in against the Mariners.

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He added: “I didn’t expect to be starting, I hadn’t trained with the lads or anything.

“I only met the lads at the hotel and it was on the coach that the gaffer told me I was going to be starting.

“I felt like Gary wanted me here though and it was important I repaid him.

“It was a great point at Grimsby. I went there last year twice with Luton and we got annihilated twice.

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“It was a bit disappointing not to get all three points after leading 2-1 on 82 minutes, but if you re-evaluate, going to Grimsby, nine out of 10 times you will take a point.”

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