SWINDON Town defender Jonathan Grounds believes football is in the midst of a cross-generational issue regarding how managers are able to speak to players.

The 32-year-old – who is playing in his 12th season as a professional – said managers have to be careful how they speak to younger players when cajoling them as a too severe approach can cause further issues.

The Town centre-back said this is a problem facing manager John Sheridan as often a third of Swindon’s starting XI is made up of players aged 22 or younger.

When asked if Grounds responds more effectively to the hairdryer treatment or simply a kind word, the Stockton-born man gave a thought-provoking answer.

He said: “I’ll always look at myself first and I’ll know whether I need a telling off or not, but the manager giving you a rocket will keep it in your mind a little bit longer.

“But for the manager, it’s difficult with the group that we have at the minute because we don’t have that many senior professionals in the starting line-up. Therefore he does have to be careful with what he says to younger players, I suppose, because you don’t know how they’re going to react.

“Older players probably accept a bit more of a rocket and they react in the right way, but you’re never too sure if you haven’t worked with young players before.”

One of the younger players in Town’s squad who has improved in Grounds’ eyes is goalkeeper, Matej Kovar. The stopper has enjoyed a decent run of games, despite conceding four away at Crewe Alexandra on Tuesday night.

Grounds says Kovar’s communication skills have come on leaps and bounds following recent hard work with goalkeeping coach, Steve Mildenhall.

He said: “Matej’s communication is getting better, I’ll definitely give him that. He was quite quiet when I first came in, and he’s going to be because it’s his first first-team environment.

“He’s been playing under-23s football at Manchester United, he’s got a lot of things going for him, but his game will come together with time and games.

“He’s a 20-year-old goalkeeper, they’re always later to develop, but certainly in the last couple of games his work with Steve Mildenhall has seen him trying to speak to his defenders a little bit more.

“In a few of the games that I’ve been in front of him, he definitely has been a bit more demanding, he’s been coming for crosses, and it’s always a relief to have somebody like that behind you.”