Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray is ‘excited’ by the signing of young speed machine winger CJ Hamilton and believes he has the potential to follow former Stags winger Sam Clucas into the Premier League one day.
The 21-year-old former Sheffield United prospect signed for the Stags today with Murray purring: “He is a winger with loads of potential and one of the quickest things I’ve seen.
“We saw last year with Matty Blair, when you’ve got that lighting pace at times, it can affect teams.
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“CJ is a left-footed player who is lightning quick, but he’s got a fantastic delivery on him and we believe with such potential he is someone we can be an asset for us and someone who can go on and be beneficial for the football club as well.
“We are excited about this one as we believe there is a lot of potential in him.
“Like Sam Clucas, he is someone that can go on and reach as high a height as he wants to. It’s on his toes. He will be good for the football club.
“He was due to sign for a League One club that was in the play-offs this year.
“It didn’t quite come off because of their success in the play-offs. They opted to go and buy someone, so we jumped in and we’ve managed to get it done quickly.”
Hamilton has had loan spells out at clubs like Halifax Town, Gateshead, and Gainsborough Trinity and Murray said: “He is at a good age and he’s had a good spell out on loan.
“At that age getting the men’s football and that ability of being able to understand the importance of three points will have done him the world of good.
“We will have a young squad again. We are very multi-functional but we are very effective. So, like everyone, he will be fighting for a first team spot.”
Murray added: “If CJ does what he is capable of doing he is going to be a right handful in League Two.
“A lot of League Two’s deficiencies with every team are defensively and I think pace is one of the biggest attributes that they struggle with. So like everyone he will be thrown into the hat in pre-season.
“CJ will have to go and earn a shirt and I am more than confident he can do that.
“He is predominantly an out-and-out left winger. He is an old school left winger. You get it and give it him and he gets at people, runs past four and crosses into the box. So we’re happy with that.
“He can play a number of positions as well, but that’s his favoured position.
“He’s one that when he gets the ball, he gets people off their seats and he can carry the ball 50 yards at 400mph and give you an end product which at times I thought last season we lacked a little bit.”
Hamilton has been on Stags’ radar since early February.
“It was probably about three months from the end of the season someone put me onto him, so I had a few people watch him, watched a few of his games myself and then went through hours and hours of clips,” said Murray.
“I think there is a lot of work to do there in terms of his tactical nous. He’s only 20, so you expect that.
“But his raw ability and his ability to win and affect games at this level and the levels above will be very exciting.
“We had a lot of pace all over the team last season. We won a lot of our games last season, especially away from home, on the counter-attack because of our pace.
“So it’s not that we needed to add more. We were a quick team last year. What we want to do is keep that level of pace but, not just the ability to run fast, but the ability to play fast.
“That raw ability to knock it past someone is actually going out of the game now.
“Everyone wants to do eight million step-overs and four Cruyft turns, come inside then lose it.
“That’s why I think CJ is very positive. He wants to open people up and the big thing for me is that he’s not a speedboat without a driver. He’s got a bit of intelligence in there as well.
“He is another bit of ‘off-the-cuffness. We are hoping he can add to our assist column and our goals column.”
Hamilton joins fellow new signing and winger Ashley Hemmings, who joined on Friday, in the squad with Murray getting closer to completing his summer business.