Lee Bowyer explains why academy graduate George Lapslie has grown as a first-team player

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Lee Bowyer believes that George Lapslie’s recent performances can be put down to the academy graduate’s eagerness to learn and improve.

The 21-year-old was fantastic in Tuesday’s 2-1 win against league-leaders Portsmouth and, in the second half, he made an incredible goal-line block with his face to protect the Addicks’ two-goal lead.

Lapslie sunk to the floor at full-time on Tuesday - having given his all and having also just been kicked in the head - and speaking at his pre-AFC Wimbledon press conference on Thursday, Manager Bowyer was full of praise for his ever-improving midfielder.

“It all comes down to attitude,” Bowyer said. “Some people want to learn and some people think they know everything. That’s football.

“George is one of those who wants to improve, wants to learn and wants to do the best for the team. He’s a good team player and he’s good to have around the squad.

“I know that I can trust him and that is the most important thing for a manager. When you have cup games, people may ask ‘why are you playing him?’ and ‘why are you playing them?’ but I need to know if I can trust my young players in league matches.

“I know what I’ll get from George. He gives 100 per cent and he trains like he played on Tuesday every single day.”

Bowyer says that he has seen Lapslie grow as a player since the beginning of the summer, as well as in recent weeks.

He said: “George got his chance in pre-season. He came away with us and he just kept improving really quickly.

“He stayed in and around it and he got his chance at Sunderland because we were low in the middle of the park and he has grabbed his chance.

“He is improving every day and he has come on so much that it is frightening. He has the energy and in possession he is getting better.

“He has so much enthusiasm and I keep saying that now I have got to teach him the game and his position. He can be too honest at times and does too much running at times and can sometimes leave us a bit open.

“He is learning and this is my job to make him better and myself and Jacko are doing that with him. He is a great lad who wants to learn and he has got everything.

“He’s got forward and has had some chance to score and he always puts his body on the line; on Tuesday he took that one in the face. He got kicked in the head about three times, he puts his head where not many people would. I’m really pleased for him and I know that he’ll keep improving.”

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