JOHN Mousinho can help Luke McNally become a better defender at Oxford United, according to head coach Karl Robinson.

Twenty-one-year-old McNally has yet to make his U’s debut since joining in January from League of Ireland Premier Division side St Patrick’s Athletic on a three and a half year deal, for an undisclosed fee.

He only joined full training for the U’s in March, having not played since November when the Irish league season was curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With a full pre-season under his belt, Robinson hopes McNally can finally show United fans what he’s about.

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The U’s boss is looking to partner the youngster in friendlies and cup games with an experienced head in 35-year-old Mousinho.

Robinson said: “It’s where John Mousinho signing another contract is really important because I’d like to play him alongside McNally right through the pre-season and maybe through some of the early cup games.

“John can talk to him and he can do John’s running, so it’s not a bad partnership between the two of them.”

Robinson said Mousinho is ‘fit and ready to go’ after recovering from knee surgery in January.

“He’s a freak of nature, his age doesn’t seem to make any difference on his performance or his running stats,” said Robinson.

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“It’s more a case of having him in the building.

“Brighton have just started a pilot programme a year ago where they sign ex-players who play in the under-23s.

“Andrew Crofts was my captain at Charlton and he plays at right back behind the right winger, and he plays in centre midfield alongside a youngster.

“That really develops young players.”

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The U’s boss said game time with Mousinho would help McNally as he learns his trade.

“We have a really young group anyway and especially with Macca, we’ve put quite a bit of money into him,” said Robinson.

“It’s more about what we can teach him in the game rather than what we can teach him on the training ground.

“John Mousinho is going to be a real key component to his development.”

Last month, United club captain Mousinho was elected as the new chair of the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA).