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Linfield boss David Healy taking my game to a new level, says Stewart

By Graham Luney

Cameron Stewart is convinced Linfield boss David Healy is going to transform him into an even better finisher.

The former Crusaders player returned to haunt his old club in the County Antrim Shield decider at the Ballymena Showgrounds when he headed in the early opener.

Linfield ran out 3-1 winners with Mark Stafford and Stephen Lowry also hitting the net and it is Healy's first trophy as Blues manager.

The deserved victory against 10-man Crusaders after Paul Heatley's sending off also ended Linfield's trophy drought which stretched back to a Shield win over the Crues at the same venue in March 2014.

Crusaders' defence was asleep in the early stages, allowing Stewart to aim a powerful header past keeper Sean O'Neill.

The former Coleraine man is very much a fresh face at Windsor Park after making his first team debut in a 4-0 win against Donegal Celtic in the Shield in September.

The 19-year-old summer signing from the Crues has found the net in the last three matches and words of wisdom from Northern Ireland's record goalscorer will keep him moving in the right direction.

"I am learning more and more every week, the gaffer is on at me about my runs and I appreciate him talking me through things. It's the little details that are helping," says Stewart.

"Learning from David is brilliant.

"His knowledge of the game is fantastic and it's all about the small movements up front. They can make a big difference.

"He spoke to me before the game about how physical it would be, his voice was ringing in my ears every time I missed the ball.

"I enjoyed myself, I took it as another game and it was nice to get an early goal to settle my nerves.

"I should have had one in the second half, or should have passed to Andy (Waterworth), but the gaffer is telling me to be selfish.

"It was frustrating (last season) but I took my chances when I came here, I've worked hard and got what I've worked for.

"Once I get the legs up and going I fancy myself against most players to be honest, it's that five-yard burst I've been working on.

"Andy is the best striker in the league, his goals speak for themselves and he's taken me under his wing a bit, talking me through things he's been doing."

Healy (left) can recognise Stewart's significant potential and the Blues chief is hopeful he can give this rough diamond the guidance he needs.

"Centre-halves are unselfish, he is a pleasant and educated young man but he needs to think 'I'm going to score', and if he scores, he does, if he doesn't, he'll hold his hands up," said Healy.

"He will get better because I'm on at him about everything. I will help and guide him, he's only 19. Jordan Owens is a prime example of a striker who has developed in his position.

"I saw him playing in schools football and what he was, was a good footballer. I had seen him playing a few games and when I brought him in as a centre-half I could see he was a good footballer.

"If he gets too soft as a centre forward I'll move him back into defence to toughen him up!"

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