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Eoghan O'Connell enjoying Walsall's League One challenge

Sport | Published:

Walsall loan star Eoghan O'Connell admits he is enjoying the physical challenge of playing in League One.

The 21-year-old, who was snapped up on a temporary basis from Celtic last month, has made an unbeaten start to life at Banks's Stadium.

O'Connell has won three and drawn two of his five games as a Saddler – with that run helping propel the team to within four points of the play-offs. And the defender, who has made seven appearances for Celtic this season, believes his time in England is helping him develop as a player.

"Celtic are very dominant in the games in Scotland so it's all about what you do with the ball," the Irishman said. "Here I think I have to work on the defensive side of the game and how to deal with pressure.

"Games in League One are very even. Even the games we have won have been quiet tight. There have been points when they could go either way. The Millwall game for example, we had to fight to take a good point away from home. I think that is a very important aspect of the game and that is what I have to improve on."

As well as his defensive qualities, O'Connell has also impressed Walsall fans with his ability to bring the ball out of defence.

"When I was younger – before I went to Scotland – I played quite a lot in midfield and up front," he continued.

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"My instincts tend to be when I get the ball let's take the player on so I have to fight against it!"

O'Connell believes his impressive form has been made possible by how quickly his team mates have helped him settle.

"I think settling in as quickly as you can is the most difficult challenge when you go out on loan," he added.

"Getting to know everyone and making yourself comfortable. You have to gain respect and trust from your team mates - that's very important.

"But since day one I noticed everyone is brilliant and nice to be around. This is a great place to be and I am really enjoying it."

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