|The Moore You Ignore Mick|
Written by Mullet on Sunday, 15th Jan 2017 18:44
Day 14 in the TWTD madhouse and all is far from clear. Months of second-rate drama and second-rate football seem to end with a quiet ovation for Mick McCarthy and his men. With his captain coming out in the media to air publicly the wounds of he and his colleagues, another young player is welcomed and warned off it by Mick.
What better answer, however indirect, to so many questions than a dramatic win against Blackburn? Forcing them further into the relegation mix and propelling us even further away. The new man watching on with that warning lingering in his ear was Kieffer Moore. Ipswich’s newest and first signing of January.
Who? Exactly, we might say furrowing foreheads and licking our lips as if encased in a thick layer of milk. A £10k punt from Forest Green. At six foot six he is Mick’s first attempt to plug the chasm left by Daryl Murphy (who also scored yesterday for Newcastle). Bigger in frame but much smaller in fame, Moore is 24 years of age. Already, some bizarre arguments have broken out as to just how young he actually is. The answer? 24.
On another day on which Town fans were left wondering where we might be without Tom Lawrence, it became clear that we might not be in this exact position at all. As a player it became clear that Moore has crossed paths with Town on one brief occasion. When Mick also took note of the Premier League-bound Lawrence, Moore appeared off the bench for the same game for Yeovil and thundered an effort off the post. Mick mentioned in his press conference it was this effort and subsequent move to Viking in Norway that impressed him.
Here, in this clip you can see a little of why Mick likes Kieffer’s character as much as his movement on the pitch. Reflecting humbly on what he learnt in Norway, making just 11 goalless appearances, he is not only reflective on the risks he took to better himself in a foreign but competitive environment, but reveals how he sees himself, noting “[I’m] a big physical player, movement off the ball, I like running, I like shooting."
His maturation as young player in league football might not have seen him score for fun, but there is a sense of journey and growth that you get from reading into his career at this point.
Some may roll their eyes at this. The purists who fear Mick’s agricultural approach in deepest Suffolk, will be straining their lips as the syllable “hoof” is slowly launched indiscriminately at this appraisal. However, the warning signs may be alleviated by the sirens that are YouTube highlights packages. Luring many fans in by the power of expectations, only to come crashing into disaster when they realise it’s too late.
So here are his stats instead, for those of you that way inclined:
It was his impressive goal return as a youngster in the lower reaches of his native South-West, (a place where busyness is valued here on TWTD) that propelled him into league football with Yeovil initially. 20 goals in 35 league appearances from a 19-year-old with Truro and Dorchester is decent going even if it wasn't replicated at the Glovers it gives us a handle on the bigger picture for Moore.
In this first clip you can see exactly why we might have signed him. Left as a lone man on the halfway line, he is the outlet for a neat counter-attack. A decent first touch and enough mobility to break the defence, he finishes low and relatively precisely around 46 seconds.
At around 1min 30 a deep cross from the full-back sees him challenge the keeper and the ball bounce softly off his head into the net again. It is more akin to the sort of finish one associates with a lower league target man, but more importantly shows he will as Mick suggested after the Blackburn match Moore will “attack the ball”.
He completes his hat-trick against Solihull Moors with another header. Meeting a lower and harder cross again from the left with precision and power, you can’t knock at any level. Perhaps the better defences of the Championship might repel more of those, perhaps they might track his runs a little better, but the deliveries of Lawrence et al might also allow Moore to find just as much room. When the time comes, we will see if he is able to finish consistently.
It’s not a perfect hat-trick, but anyone getting one of those Town would immediately be a new hero at the moment. What it does show is that he has a little more to his game than the stereotypical non-League number 10. He might not be a target man outright, or a simple hulking throwback, let alone Mick’s Paul Mariner. But unlike someone like Kevin Francis, Kieffer clearly has more about him.
Certainly, the Forest Green fans give the impression Moore was under-utilised there despite making 33 appearances and yielding seven goals. Comments that echo this theme of “big”, “good movement”, “good touch” are tempered by “poor finishing”.
Kieffer might be a striker about to move towards his peak, another lost boy to non-league at a developmental stage of his career only to unleash a wave of terror and deadly intent upon defences under the tutelage of Mick.
It’s been a while since we heard about TC’s Friday finishing school, but who knows? With a few weeks of those perhaps Moore can graduate from it and Saturday nights, we’ll wonder will he take us to the top or drive us crazy?
For those who would like to consider any doubts about Moore, here’s a 5-5 draw in which he plays but doesn’t score. Subbed after 70 minutes when Forest Green were trailing 5-3, what you might spot is that on more than one occasion he does occupy defenders and the goalkeeper to allow his team-mates to score. That can be equally valuable if we are to consider that those around him will be far more experienced, and arguably 'better' due to their experience in the Premier League.
When Mick gave his opinion on Moore he said, “What I like about him is that he just doesn’t use his height, his weight and his strength, he actually goes and attacks the ball and that’s something that we don’t have”.
The last clause of that testimony being the most important for me. We’ve all lamented the loss of Murphy and it left us wanting the one we couldn’t have and worrying about what we were left with. It’s obvious that Leon Best has not been good enough. Brett Pitman has shown the talent and temperament which can make or break him and any game he’s in.
The tactical and attacking permutations Mick has played have yielded little return in the manner in which we’ve played them. It seems that objectively Moore is unlikely to be another Jamie Vardy, Jon Walters, Michael Kightly, Tyrone Mings or other Roy of the Rovers type story that have been mentioned this weekend. But the fact we’re talking about them at all suggests he has every right to try, to dream to believe and that’s something that comes across in his interviews, and the words written about him.
As has been the case all season, the few can be loud and merciless in their expectations and this can bleed into the many very quickly. But if he too can take on a little of their essence, even if he only has a sniff of playing time. At the price and time, he has arrived it will be worth experimenting with Kieffer.
This was also a weekend where Town finally seemed to score from set pieces. Something never a problem in previous seasons under Mick. A direct freekick from Lawrence and the assist from a corner for Berra to score, reminds very much of Moore’s second against Solihull. Perhaps we might see signings like this inspire us to be more daring from deadball situations and kill teams off. Whoever applies the final touch?
You can see in this pre-season friendly against Cardiff a penalty converted by Moore at 2mins 40. While Pitman, David McGoldrick and several others might line up ahead of him in that regard, gone are the days where just been the biggest lad on the pitch gets you pretty far
For those who haven’t seen the quickly touted 'showboating' clip here it is. It’s nice to see players willing to improvise to keep possession and pull off such trickery, it demonstrates the raw material Mick likes to work on and fashion into a better player.
However Moore fares at Portman Road, I wish him all the luck in the world. He joins a club that needs fresh blood. A side that has lacked that extra dimension to see it undo teams instead of itself.
The impression you get is that once again Mick has done his due diligence. Well regarded and wanted back at his former loan club Torquay, he is also a player with the ambition and work-rate to make the most of his opportunity. He credited putting in extra gym sessions helping him to grab a brace of headers for FGR.
All things considered, for the cost of two days' wages for many of the strikers in the division it matters not if Moore joins the long list of punts to come and go under Mick. If you win the lottery, you don’t agonise over the tickets that went in the bin. Especially if he brings a little excitement and hope in the meantime. With this season as it is, what else is there?
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