Shelton: I’ll Help However I Can

Khiry Toronto preview

The tag of “super sub” is not one that most soccer players seek.

Khiry Shelton is no different in that regard but he has promised to embrace the handle for now... if it helps NYCFC to glory in 2016.

Not for the first time, the 23-year old made an immediate and decisive impact when he entered the field against Columbus Crew in the last regular season game of the year, netting the match-clinching third goal in a 4-1 win.

With Toronto up next in a two-legged Easter Conference semifinal, Shelton wants to aid the team's cause in any way he can, whether as a starter or from the bench.

“I never want to say I like coming off the bench but any way I can help the team is what I’m going to do,” Khiry said.

“Coming off the bench you want to make a difference – in earlier games, if you can give a bit of a spark it’s the key to that. I’m lucky to have the opportunity to do that.

“I want to be a starter like every player but I know what I can do coming off the bench, especially because the guys have worked hard for 70 or 80 minutes and have tired the defense and the whole team out - I have embraced it and I will continue to.

“You do have to pace yourself coming off the bench, you don’t have your second wind and the first couple of sprints gas you a little bit. Coming off the bench I know I’m going to get winded pretty quick so it’s all about the first couple of touches of the ball and trying to do something special.”

Watch: Shelton Goal v Columbus
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Jack Harrison’s emergence has limited Khiry to 13 starts this season but he’s still made a vital contribution, chipping in with four goals and six assists this term.

Shelton believes that his professional rivalry with his English teammate pushes them on and improves them both as players.

“You’ve seen Jack play and why people rate him really, really highly – he’s a fantastic footballer,” Shelton smiled.

“The way he plays the game is amazing and the way we’re able to connect off the field helps with that too – competition for places is healthy.

“One of us is going to start and that’s how it goes in the football world – he’s a very, very good player.”

Patrick Vieira singled out Shelton for special praise following the Columbus win, highlighting his studious, analytical approach to his game as an example to youngsters everywhere.

Khiry has recognized the effect his coach has had on his game and is pleased with his ongoing development.

He explained:” There have been different things – you can talk about my technical ability, you can talk about knowing when and when not to attempt to thread passes and how to be dangerous.

“Growing up it was on and off, whereas now I think I can pinpoint little parts in games when I’m able to hurt defenders more than before.”

Shelton: I’ll Help However I Can -