Dunne excited to link up with Smith

New signing says Boro manager’s football philosophy is what enticed him to the Lamex

JAMES Dunne, who signed for Stevenage on Thursday after leaving Exeter City, says it was the prospect of playing under Gary Smith that lured him to the club.

The 22-year-old midfielder, who started his career working with Smith as a youth team player at Wimbledon up until the age of 15, says Smith’s style of football suits his own game and the former Arsenal reserve team player hopes the re-built squad at Stevenage can embrace the changing philosophy at the club and take it forward.

“Gary is a good manager. I’ve seen how he works and how he likes his teams to get the ball down and play – and that’s the way I like to play football as well,” Dunne told the Comet.

“It wasn’t easy to leave Exeter because they were the team that gave me my chance. Paul Tisdale is a great manager but it was time for me to leave and I’m excited about this new challenge.”


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Dunne describes himself as a tough-tackling central midfielder, who likes to keep it simple in the middle of the park. And after watching and playing against Stevenage last season for The Grecians, the Farnborough-born midfielder says Boro already have all the qualities of a good team despite seeing a number of players leave.

“Obviously I played against them last season and they were a really tough side to play against,” he added. “When Gary came in there he tried to get the team playing more football – which is what he emphasised at Wimbledon – and that was what attracted me to Stevenage.

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“I saw them play against Tottenham in the FA Cup and in the play-offs against Sheffield United and I thought they played really well and were unlucky not to get the results they wanted.

“I’m just looking forward to pre-season now and getting started with the new season.”

Boro have lost two central midfielders so far since the end of the campaign in the form of John Mousinho and Joel Byrom, and Dunne is hopeful of forging a good partnership alongside the remaining Michael Bostwick.

“Hopefully I can start the season playing well and I have seen Michael play and he’s a really good player so hopefully I can play alongside him,” he said. “Hopefully next season we can push for the play-offs but go one better this time.”

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