LUKE COULSON is already making a big impression at Ebbsfleet United.
The architect of the Fleet’s two goals against Guiseley on the opening day of the season, he got on the scoresheet himself in Tuesday’s 2-0 Kent derby win against Maidstone United.
It came after boss Daryl McMahon switched him from right wing-back to a far more attacking position on the left hand side.
He picked the pocket of Stones’ right-back Seth Nani Twumasi, cut inside on his right foot and drilled the home side into a lead that was later extended by Danny Kedwell.
“I love coming in on my right foot from the left,” says a beaming Coulson, clutching a pizza box in the Ebbsfleet tunnel. “I scored a similar goal against Maidstone last year for Eastleigh.
“As soon as I come inside like that I know what I’m going to do. It was a bit of relief because there wasn’t much between the two teams at that point. But I felt that goal was the opening and we got better from there.”
Coulson jokes that now he lives in Maidstone he should probably keep his head down.
But there’s little chance of that on the pitch if he continues the way he’s started his Fleet career having joined from Barnet in the summer.
“It’s brilliant,” Coulson, 23, says. “A bit of fresh air, just a new start for me. The lads have been brilliant. I have a great laugh with everyone in there and the gaffer has been different class.
“From what he puts on in training to the messages he gives us, half-time team talks and the way he talks to me. I feel like he can definitely bring out the best in me again. I just love being here.”
Coulson says the fresh start is just what he needed after a January move to the League Two Bees didn’t go as well as he’d hoped.
His early season form for Eastleigh sparked rumours of a move to the Championship but eventually he made the step up one league to Barnet in January.
The former Oxford City man admits, with hindsight, it wasn’t the right move for him.
“I felt like I was banging my head against a door a little bit,” he says. “It went a bit stale and I lost my confidence. Confidence in football is everything and you just want someone who will stand behind you, push you on and make you get better and better. That’s what I think the gaffer can do for me here.
“I obviously jumped at the opportunity to join the League. Hindsight, wrong club. But you never know that until you make that decision. I got sucked in a little bit by the League. In hindsight should I have waited for the summer and had more options on the table? Yeah. But I’m here. I want to get back there and I want to get back with Ebbsfleet. That’s what I’m planning on doing.”
So, how have Ebbsfleet restored his confidence?
“When you join a new club and all the messages are what you want them to be,” he says. “It’s been a case of coming here and, ‘Luke, you’re going to be starting, you’re going to be playing in midfield, we’re going to play football, we’ve got a great pitch, we’re building an unbelievable stadium’. The club is going in the right direction.
“The gaffer is one of the best managers I’ve played for. I already know that only having been here a few weeks. I spoke to Andy Drury a lot before making the move and he couldn’t speak highly enough of him. That was a massive pull and I haven’t been let down by anything at the club so far.”