Luton – Luton Town chief Rob Edwards believes the enjoyment that on-loan midfielder Marvelous Nakamba is getting from his loan spell with the Hatters is translating into his performances on the pitch.
The 29-year-old moved to Kenilworth Road from Aston Villa in a deal until the end of the season on transfer deadline day, and has started the last seven Championship encounters in the holding midfield role.
He has been a revelation in the role too, providing a terrific screen in front of the back three, so much so, that Luton have only conceded twice from open play when he has been on the field, one of those an error from Ethan Horvath against Millwall, the other a clearly offside goal in the same game.
Starring in the 1-0 victory at Sheffield United on Saturday, particularly in the first half where his now customary ability to win tackles and maintain possession was evident from the opening whistle, Nakamba, could be seen interacting with the visiting supporters at the end of the contest, as it looks like he is loving life in Bedfordshire.
On just how big a factor that is for a loan player, Edwards said: “It’s really important and he’s such a good lad, he walks around and he’s so humble, so happy.
Marvelous Nakamba playing for Luton Town”He’s such a good professional though, and I can see when we are having meetings, or going through set-pieces, whatever it might be, the level of detail.
“He’s asking questions, he’s picking up, you can really see his professionalism and why he’s played at the level he’s played at, and why he’s performing so well for us as well.
“He’s been terrific for us, and long may that continue as well.
“When loan players come in, there’s got to be something that they are going to get from it as well.
“It can’t just be all about us and the club, it’s got to work both ways, and I think certainly in his situation, and Cody’s (Drameh) as well, it’s working well for both parties.
“It gets them the football, but it really helps us as well, as a club.”
Although Nakamba has played at the top level, including internationally for Zimbabwe and in the Premier League and Champions League, there doesn’t appear an ounce of grandeur about him when having to drop down to the Championship in a bid to get the regular first team football he had been without for the past two seasons.
Edwards always knew that would be the case though, as he continued: “When I spoke to him as we were going through the process of trying to get him in the club, I could see that in him, that humility that he’s got.
“From day one he’s come in and been a part of the group and just loved it.
“He’s got stuck in, the lads love him and I think he’s really enjoying his football and it’s showing on the pitch.
“He has been great, he’s got a lot of quality.
“At the level that he’s played out and the experience that he’s got, he’s coming with a great attitude.
“He’s wanting to play, he’s wanting to help the group, he’s come in straightaway and settled in with everybody.
“A real humble guy, and you can see that in the way he plays, love him.
“He looks like what we needed and what we felt we needed to try and bolster that area to pitch and give more options.
“He’s brought exactly what we wanted, that tenacity in the way he gets up to the ball.
“He’s aggressive, very reliable when he gets the ball as well, so we’re really happy with him.”
With Nakamba’s deal at Luton running to May, and the midfielder, who Villa paid £11m to Club Brugge for, believed to have another year on his deal, a permanent deal appears unlikely due to wages, plus a potential transfer fee, unless that is, the Hatters reached the top flight themselves.
Edwards preferred to look at what he can do for the club during the promotion run-in rather than what may or may not happen, as he added: “I think it’s well into the future.
“All I can say at the moment is that I think he’s a terrific player and a terrific person.
“Of course, we want good players and good people at the club, but I think it’s one thing at a time.
“Let’s focus on the here and the now and for him to make the most of it for himself, and for us to get the most out of it for him to try and help us get as many points as we can.
“But we want good people and good players here, of course we do.”