John Paul Kissock admitted he was flattered by comparisons to Barcelona wizard Lionel Messi after an impressive full debut during Luton’s 1-1 draw at Stockport on Friday night.
The diminutive midfielder pulled the strings in the first half as the Hatters started strongly at Edgeley Park, exhibiting the fleet of foot that saw him take over from Wayne Rooney as the youngest player ever to play for Everton’s reserves.
His stature - one inch shorter than the world famous Argentinian - and similar shaggy hair saw some fans rave about the Liverpudlian in the same light as one of his heroes.
A modest Kissock said: “I don’t know about that. The guy is on a different planet. It’s lovely of them [the fans] to say that.
“It’s a fantastic club. The support they’ve got really is good so, fingers crossed, I can do my best for them.”
Everton midfielder Leon Osman was inside County’s ground to watch his friend make his second appearance for Luton.
Kissock admitted that he has been blessed with a good football education, looking up to the likes of former Toffees Steven Pienaar and Mikel Arteta while at Goodison Park, but asked about his idols he said: “Maradonna and Messi.
“I’ve got so many videos of Maradonna and, now Messi has come through, Maradonna has taken a little bit of a back seat, but you never get tired of watching players like that.
“The likes of Xavi, Iniesta, Messi and Maradonna - they’re all just so good.
“I’ll work as hard as I can and try to do well.”
By his own admission, Kissock was less effective in the second half against Stockport. However, he felt Town didn’t deserve to have victory snatched from them through Sean McConville’s deflected strike in injury time.
“I thought in the first half I played really well,” he said. “In the second half I probably wasn’t as good. We tried to play a little bit but not as much as we did in the first half. We did well but we could have done better.
“I was devastated [with the equaliser]. The lads defended for 89 minutes and the whole back four was great. To concede a goal like that was a bit of a nightmare.
“I felt as a team we did fantastically. We kept the ball but in the second half that was missing.
“We defended well and worked hard, but there’s so much quality in the dressing room and so many fantastic footballers so we need to trust ourselves a little bit more.
“We tried to grind out the result but I thought, in the end, we deserved to nick it.”
Kissock impressed against Luton as a Southport player this season, but he revealed he has been asked to develop a new style by manager Gary Brabin.
“I think he wants me to be more box-to-box which is a bit new to me. I’m going to try to work as hard as I can.
“It’s a little bit new to me. I’ve been known to play off a front man and drop into holes, but the manager wants me to do it the opposite way and come from deeper.
“Playing with Alex and Adam [Watkins], it will come. Hopefully, we can gel together and become a good team.
“I couldn’t really get a grip of it in the second half, but that’s football. All credit to Stockport, they kept going to the last minute but I thought we were hard done by.”
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