Henri Lansbury going for fourth promotion to Premier League as Luton chase top-flight dream

HENRI LANSBURY is something of a Premier League promotion specialist.

And the midfielder is hoping to secure his fourth at Luton.



The Hatters are the surprise package among the contenders to secure a play-off spot at the end of the season.

At the turn of the year, Luton were 12th in the table, 11 points behind the top six but are not sitting fourth.

Lansbury, 31, has already gone up while at West Ham, Norwich and Aston Villa — and Luton’s form that sees them now fifth in the table has got the Kenilworth Road faithful dreaming of a return to the top flight for the first time in 30 years.

But the midfield ace is not surprised and said: “When I first met the manager, Nathan Jones, he set out his plans and wanted to push for the play-offs.

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“And when you look at this group of lads and the way they train, the way they bond together, it’s a great achievement and we should keep pushing.

“We never say die, always fight to the final whistle and work hard for each other.

“The demands placed on us are so high that no-one wants to let anyone down and you can see that in our performances.”

Lansbury believes Luton have, until recently, gone completely under the radar in terms of the promotion picture.

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He added: “People might think we’re little Luton Town. But we know that teams who think that are going to get rumbled. People don’t like coming here.

“I’ve been around this league for years and you see everyone beats everyone and if you put a run together and have good squad you have a great chance of getting out of it.”

Although Lansbury has enjoyed success getting out of the Championship, he has only made 13 top-flight appearances himself.

That is probably disappointing when you consider Arsene Wenger once claimed he would be a “big player” while he was a youngster at Arsenal and made three of his Premier League appearances there.

But Lansbury believes he has unfinished business at English football’s top table and would like another crack at it.

He said: “Hopefully this will be my fourth promotion. Everyone wants to play in the Premier League and any start in the top division is an achivement.

“But it’s great to be just trying to get back up there and of definitely it would be superb to just play week in, week out at the top level.”

Did Wenger’s words place too much pressure and expectation on Lansbury when he was trying to cut his teeth as such a massive club?

Lansbury said: “No, it’s a good thing. When you’re around that environment and someone is praising you for the way you’re working, you know if you carry on working that way, working hard, you know you can get to where you are capable of getting to.

“It’s not by luck that these players are talked up and get to the top stage.

“A lot of these players who get talked up when they’re young, go all the way — but to stay at the top you must work hard every day and it means they have something about them.”

One player that Lansbury is convinced is destined to the top — quite possibly with the Hatters next season — is Elijah Adebayo.

The 24-year-old has been in blistering form and his 15 goals from 34 games are one of the reasons why Nathan Jones’ side are riding so high.

Lansbury said: “Ade has got everything and been brilliant for us. If he continues working on his finishing, he could score even more goals.

“He’s a handful. You can see why a lot of clubs are watching him. He bullies almost everyone he comes up against.

“In the Championship that is what you want and he’s good enough to go up to the next level.

People might think we’re little Luton Town. But we know that teams who think that are going to get rumbled

“It’s just his all-round game, hold-up play, his finishing. You want him on the back stick where you throw the ball up and as a defender you don’t want him coming over the top of you.

“He is always in the right areas and will score goals for you.”

Lansbury has started 15 Championship games and come off the bench 15 times too.

And it is a role that he is throughly enjoying especially after only making 26 starts during four years at Aston Villa before moving to Bristol City for the final half of last season.

The midfielder said: “I haven’t play week in, week out for a couple of years so it was about getting the first year back into the legs and building from that.

“It’s a slightly different role for me. It’s been nice to help the boys with my experience. There are a lot of young lads here so it’s been nice to be a mentor.

“I’ve enjoyed working with the gaffer and his assistant Chris Cohan, who I used to play alongside at Nottingham Forest.

“Him being here was a big sway into me coming. He said they were looking to achieve big things this season — and I wanted to play for him because he was my captain at Forest

“The gaffer has given me an opportnuity to play this year. I’m happy and grateful so we just need to keep pushing and make it an even better year.”

LANSBURY’S PREM PROMOTIONS

HENRI Lansbury has gone up with the following clubs

Norwich – 2011

West Ham – 2012

Aston Villa – 2019

Lansbury has famously donned the goalkeeping gloves for both West Ham after Rob Green was sent off against Blackpool and England Under-21 when Jason Steele was shown a red card against Germany.

He kept a clean sheet for the Hammers and was only beaten by a penalty for his country for Steele’s professional foul before also keeping Germany at bay.

It means he is still yet to be beaten in open play.

And he joked: “I’ve already told the keepers here, I’m after their shirt. 

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“I absolutely love it. I used to go into goal when I was growing up and then somehow I got put on to the pitch!

“In a couple of years i might take up the gloves and see how I get on.”

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