Danny Collins spent the back end of an 18-year playing career turning out for Grimsby Town, following a five-year stint at Sunderland and spells with Stoke and Nottingham Forest.
During the 39-year-old’s final campaign, the Black Cats sent a dynamic attacking midfielder on loan to the Mariners.
Durham-born Elliot Embleton went on to net four goals in 30 appearances at the League Two club, earning rave reviews in Lincolnshire.
“When he came in he was a young lad, very nervous and quiet,” Collins told The Roar Podcast. “But he came out of his shell.
“He’s also got two good feet. If you asked me what position is his best, I’d say in the 10, just behind the striker.
“He manipulates the ball well and created a few goals for us and he wants to learn the game, he’d often stay after training with a bag of balls and practising freekicks.”
Embleton returned to Sunderland in the summer and after a strong pre-season, found himself in Jack Ross’ starting XI against Oxford United on the opening day of the season.
“I spoke to him after the game and I think Elliot, as is the case with most young lads, is a confidence player,” Collins explained.
“From getting the hook after an hour of the first game of the season to not starting or featuring for the next four or five drained his confidence a little bit.
“I thought for Jack Ross, he was a little bit of an easy target, in terms of him subbing a young lad off, which keeps everybody else happy.”
After suffering an injury in the Carabao Cup win against Sheffield United, Embleton has been unavailable to new boss Pill Parkinson.
Collins, however, is backing his former teammate to provide the ammunition misfiring striker Will Grigg so desperately requires.
“When I spoke to him he said he wasn’t that far off getting back on the training pitch.
“He’ll want to impress the new manager, there’s not too much creativity happening in behind Will Grigg and he’s certainly a player who can do that for the boys.”