Having opened the scoring in today’s fixture against Gillingham, the pint-sized Jack Payne was buoyant after the convincing victory.
“Yeah, it was a really good afternoon for myself. Obviously, it’s really good to win, but to win in that manner, playing good football with a few good goals. I enjoyed that one a lot. The goal was nice, it’s something I look to do, getting on the scoresheet, and obviously in front of the fans who have been great so far, it was a really nice moment for me.”
When asked if Robbie Hall’s shot was already heading in, there was only one answer the diminutive midfielder would give.
“No, it definitely wasn’t going in.” he says with a grin. “It’s come at me quite quickly so I think that was the only thing I could have done with it so I was just pleased to see it go in really.
“First half we played well, obviously we didn’t get the goal but I think it was good that we stayed patient because we always felt it was coming. It was a relief when the first one went in and the rest followed pretty sharpish.”
A summer signing from Huddersfield Town, the loanee has hit the ground running immediately, and already has an impressive eight assists and two goals to his name.
“It’s nice to hear that but you can’t get assists without a player scoring so it’s been a good team performance all round so far. Hopefully I can keep helping the team out.
“I don’t think they rely on me, I think we’ve got loads of good players, especially from an attacking point of view. We have goals coming from all areas, assists coming from all areas. But I think, in terms of the games, it’s always going to be different. The way the game is, is how I’ve got to react to it but I’m enjoying my football so it’s so far so good.”
Since his summer switch, the number 10 has fitted into Pep Clotet’s side seamlessly. And the 22-year old is loving life under the Spaniard.
“Especially with the type of player I am, you always want to play good football which is lively. Like you say we’ve got loads of good players so it’s really enjoyable to play in at the moment.
“We do have good players and as you’ve seen over the last few weeks, the more we’re playing together the better we’re getting. We practice movement a lot in training and it’s coming through onto the pitch which is great. When you train during the week, we work on as many scenarios as possible which are going to relate to matchdays. You can’t always recreate matchday scenarios but good players perform on the day.
“We’ve got loads of pace on the pitch, and even the players coming on, so it’s hard for the other teams and it creates space for players like myself and other attacking players. The more they stretch the game, the more space we get in the middle so it’s working really well.”
The lack of a cutting edge in the first half was the only downside to a performance in which the U’s dominated. But Jack admitted keeping a cool head was the key to a successful afternoon at Grenoble Road.
“For me personally, I wasn’t frustrated because I knew how well we had the ball and they were only going to get more tired as the game went on. The more we created, for a clinical team in my opinion, the goals were going to come. It seemed like the fans were very patient as well which was also helpful because if they get frustrated then sometimes it gets relayed on the pitch. The fans were really good. They were patient and so were we.
With the deadline day signing of Alex Mowatt, who most believe his best position is in the role currently occupied by Payne, the midfielder took a positive stance to the added competition.
“For me it’s all about my own performance. If I keep playing well, then I shouldn’t have anything to worry about. I know he [Mowatt] can play out wide and he used to play centre-mid so I am looking forward to playing with him. He’s not necessarily competition in my position, but playing together is something I’m looking forward to.
“I think the longer we play together the better we’re going to get as a side. We work hard in training and if something goes wrong we look to correct it. I think the future is definitely bright this season. We have great players and the manager works hard so yeah, it’s exciting.