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29-year-old’s Exeter City return explained

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Exeter City manager Matt Taylor has confirmed that Nicky Ajose has joined the coaching team at The Grecians academy.

Ajose was released by Exeter in the summer after struggling with injury and to get into the team last season.

The former striker is just 29-years-old, but has seemingly turned his hand to coaching for now.

“As far as I am aware, it is a pathway that Nicky is exploring and gaining valuable experience in,” Taylor said via DevonLive.

“Someone who has had such a strong and stellar career should be able to adapt their knowledge, hopefully, to a younger generation, so whilst that’s going on, we are more than happy to work with Nicky.

“I haven’t worked with him directly, but as far as I’m aware, he has been a really good addition to the Academy coaching group and we need more players that have played at a certain level and have a certain amount of experience because they are the ones that have the experience, know the ins and outs and the way a game feels at times, so we are pleased to have Nicky in that role and hope he maintains it.”

Having initially come through Manchester United’s academy, Ajose failed to make a first team appearance for the Red Devils, and was loaned to Bury, where he scored 13 goals in 28 appearances.

A move to Peterborough United followed, where he spent the majority of his time out on loan at a host of clubs, including Scunthorpe, Chesterfield, Crawley, Bury for a second loan spell, and Swindon Town.

Ajose was then sold to Leeds United in August 2014, but he would only make three appearances for the club, before being loaned to Crewe and sold the following summer to Swindon.

It was in Swindon that Ajose experienced his best form, scoring 24 goals in 38 appearances for The Robins.

Ajose had further spells at Charlton, Swindon, Bury, and Mansfield, before moving to Exeter in 2019, but once again, things didn’t quite work out for the striker.

In those two years, Ajose managed just 17 appearances for The Grecians, scoring only two goals after struggling with injury.

Despite his recent record, Matt Taylor admitted he expected Ajose to find a new club after leaving Exeter, and presumes he may do so in the future.

“I presume there is still a chance that he will play for other clubs, whether that is part-time or full-time, I am sure he is assessing his options,” he said.

“He works with the Under 16s on some evenings, but a lot of our coaches have to jump between age groups, so I know he has done some sessions with Dan Green and the Under 16s, but I’d imagine he is working with different age groups, just to get more experience.

“We would have expected him to sign for another league club, or non-league club, but I am sure he will have enough options in relation to that and all players have to look at their futures at different times and in different ways.

“Nicky is doing that in relation to coaching at the moment and I am sure he will have a fantastic career in terms of coaching because he’s a thinker of the game, a studier of the game, and I can’t praise him enough in relation to that.

“Whatever benefit we can get as a club, we have to work towards that and if we can help him in terms of his playing career as well, then we will help him do that.”

The Verdict

After a somewhat nomadic career, it seems that Nicky Ajose is looking to try something different after joining Exeter City’s academy coaching team.

Although Matt Taylor sounds as though he still believes Ajose will find a club he can play for in the future, in the meantime, putting all of his experience into coaching young players must be very gratifying.

Whatever happens next for Ajose, whether he finds a club to play for, or continues coaching, he appears to have opened himself up to a potential new avenue for the future.

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Article title: 29-year-old’s Exeter City return explained

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