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Matt Taylor: Walsall skipper Joss Labadie must wise up

Walsall boss Matt Taylor says Joss Labadie has to be ‘cleverer’ moving forward and has told the skipper he cannot get suspended again this season.

Joss Labadie
Joss Labadie

The Saddlers are due to welcome energetic midfielder Labadie back for tomorrow’s clash with Rochdale after serving a one-match ban last weekend.

That was for five bookings this term. He also missed three games earlier this campaign after a straight red card, and Taylor will not stand for any more as he said: “He’s got to learn.

"In no uncertain terms, I’ve told him this is his last suspension.

“He’s too important to the squad. If that means Joss has to tone down the way which he plays, he has to do that.

“It’s a difficult one because we obviously don’t want to take that combative edge away.

“But he’s got to be cleverer. Not all of his bookings have been for tackles.

“I’ll go with a booking for a tackle, no problem, but Joss needs to be cleverer.

“With the way he plays and how vocal he is, sometimes he stands out. We’ve seen previously that it maybe goes against him.

“So, he’s got to be cleverer on the pitch. This has to be his last suspension.”

Labadie arrived at Walsall having picked up 47 bookings in five seasons with Newport County.

On how he responded to the conversation, Saddlers chief Taylor added: “He said something along the lines of ‘I’ve probably needed this’.

“I don’t want to take anything out of his game, but there’s different ways he can be just as effective – without losing that edge.

“What Joss has got to do is play cleverer.

“Joss is 31 years old. We’re not talking to a player who’s 18 or 19, just at the beginning of learning their trade.

“Joss has to make sure, however he does it, he plays on the edge but is more sensible.

“He sets the tone on a matchday and leads at the training ground.

“We now need him to lead the team by being more disciplined.”

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