DANIEL PARSLOW is “worth his weight in gold” to York City boss Gary Mills.
The Minstermen manager said the versatile player will start at left-back in tomorrow’s League Two clash against Morecambe at Bootham Crescent even if Jamal Fyfield is fit after recovering from an ankle injury.
The 27-year-old Welshman added another string to his bow during last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Gillingham when moving to the left side of the defence, having also turned out this campaign at right-back, centre-half, an anchor role in midfield and, briefly, even up front.
But, despite a string of consistent displays this season, the two-time The Press Player of the Year winner has polarised the views of supporters – with a section arguing he shouldn’t be in the first team at all.
Mills, however, while acknowledging that view existed, said Parslow was a player he could rely on and believed he had been “incredible” this season. He added that players like the Wales Under-21 international didn’t “come around very often”.
He said: “Mr Reliable stepped in and put in an incredible performance at left-back. If Jamal is fit, which I think he will be, then Pars will keep his place. He was solid, he looked like he thrived on the position and he deserves to stay there.”
When asked if he could reconcile his view of the player with that of some fans, Mills added: “I can understand it because if Daniel Parslow had that little bit of (extra) quality then he wouldn’t be with me.
“He is an unbelievable, committed player. No matter who we play against, or when we train, his commitment is incredible, as is his desire. He just lacks that little bit of extra to have gone on and played a lot higher.
“Having said that, in the two and a bit years I have been here, he has improved because we have simplified his game. People were telling me that York used to play the long ball and Pars used to get it and bang it long.
“Maybe at times, because he lacks that little bit, maybe he was giving the ball away a lot – even though he was reliable when it came to heading the ball in the six-yard box.
“I can understand it. But we went to Blackburn on Tuesday and speaking to Michael Appleton afterwards he said ‘I need to get a few players in I can rely on’. Those were his words.
“Straight away, Daniel Parslow comes to mind at York – the players you can rely on and the players who will help you be successful.
“Now you can only have so many you can rely on with a lack of quality because you won’t win things with them otherwise.
“But you get the ones in there you can rely on because you know when it comes to it he’s going to stick his head in there and make a tackle and give it absolutely everything.
“I do feel for him if there are supporters that knock him because these sort of players don’t come along very often.
“He is worth his weight in gold for this football club and, even last year when I was leaving him out, it was difficult for me to do that.
“In that league last year, and the timing of it, it was the right thing I felt to do. It was never in question about me giving him a contract for this year, even though he didn’t play the majority of last season.
“I think he has been incredible this season, wherever he has played, and I think he is thriving on the fact that it could be right-back, it could be midfield, left-back or centre-half. Sometimes it can go against you because, if you can play anywhere, sometimes you lose out.
“If you have got one position and you want to make it your own, it is difficult for a manager sometimes to leave them out, but when something happens – we’ll put Pars there. This needs improving – we’ll put Pars there.
“I have been really pleased with him. The left-back performance last week was a 9/10 for me. I thought it was an incredible performance.
“Apart from his pass when he beat about four players and just needed to square it to Jason Walker and he put it out of play. But that’s what I am talking about. That’s Pars.
“As a manager, I love him to death because he is totally what you are after – with the desire and with the commitment and that has got to come first before anything.”