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York City loan star Erik Tonne stakes claim for run-in role
NORWEGIAN hot-shot Erik Tonne never considered quitting York City despite a difficult start to his loan spell from Sheffield United.
Tonne, 20, has been restricted to just two league appearances for the Minstermen since his arrival at Bootham Crescent on January 31 but he marked the second of those outings by scoring the only goal of Saturday’s 1-0 win at Braintree.
In the process, the former Rosenborg trainee secured City a Blue Square Bet Premier play-off place ahead of this weekend’s final fixture at home to Forest Green.
Following his vital strike, Tonne insisted he felt his chance to impress City boss Gary Mills would always come and, while disappointed with his lack of first-team action, still feels the last three months have helped him mature as a young professional.
The on-loan Blade said: “There are a lot of good players at the club and the team has been doing well so I did not come here expecting to just grab a place in the side without doing anything.
“But, if the gaffer wants me to play, the main thing is me getting some game time and changing games by doing something good.
“It’s sometimes been difficult because I came here to play but I just told myself to be patient and stay professional by working hard in training. I always knew there would be lots of games at the end of the season and felt I would get my chance.
“I never once thought about going to back to Sheffield. I’ve spoken to the gaffer a few times and he’s always been open with me, explaining why I wasn’t in the team and what he wanted me to do.
“Playing wise, the move’s not gone as I would have hoped, but it has definitely been of great benefit psychologically. I’ve had to handle not playing and not being involved in games when I feel I am good enough and want to play.
“It’s been a learning curve and I’m still young but I now know, if I go on loan somewhere else, how I would handle that.”
Tonne, renowned for his powerful shot, struck on 75 minutes to sink ten-man Braintree, sparing top scorer Jason Walker’s blushes after he had squandered a simple first-half chance.
But Saturday’s marksman was quick to praise Walker for the pass that led to his first City goal, adding: “Jason told me he thought he had over-hit the pass but I felt it was a fantastic ball.
“It dragged their ’keeper out of goal and it was perfect for me to place it under his arm. It always feels good to score goals, especially when you come on and can change a game.
“I felt I did well and thought we were missing something down the left, where there was lots of space.
“I know I can do a job there and that’s why I think I came on.
“The gaffer just told me to stay out on the left, get the ball, deliver some crosses and get into the box to score a goal, if I could, so it was satisfying to do that.”
Tonne’s only other league appearance for the Minstermen came when he started the home clash with Fleetwood as a centre-forward.
He has also played for the reserves at left-back but admitted he is now hoping to nail down a permanent position and aims to discuss that matter with Blades boss Danny Wilson this summer.
Tonne, who is contracted to the League One promotion hopefuls until the summer of 2014, said: “I’ve played everywhere really and that might have been a drawback for me because I’ve never had a settled position.
“When I go back to Sheffield, I will talk to the gaffer there and evaluate what he thinks is my best position, then work on that role because I am a bit unsure myself where I prefer to play.
“One of my strongest assets is my left foot, so I can fire balls in or cut in and have a shot from the other flank, but I also like playing as a striker.”