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We Need to Talk About Kevin
Written by Pickersblue22 on Thursday, 4th May 2017 16:57

After such a disappointing season in so many ways for Ipswich Town, there are post-mortems being written left, right and centre.

From the future of Mick McCarthy, to the extortionate season ticket prices, there are many aspects of our club being pored over by us long-suffering fans, in an attempt to figure out what would be the best way to move forward.

We have heard multiple times from Mick himself and from Ian Milne that the upcoming summer is hugely important for the club as an opportunity to rebuild and go again next season.

Personally I am still holding out hope that this process will take place with a new manager in the job, but I am starting to resign myself to Mick McCarthy staying on. I don't want to talk about his future in this blog as I am happy to leave that for others to do. Instead I am going to focus on the potential make up of the squad, with the assumption that Mick will still be there.

I want to discuss one particular member of our current squad and that is Kevin Bru. I am fully aware that the majority of supporters would not lose any sleep were Bru to depart in the summer, however I think it would be a travesty if a player who clearly has so much more to give was to leave the club.

The problem for Bru is that he is not one of Mick's trusted lieutenants in the squad. In my opinion Mick's selection process is an extremely unhealthy way of operating.

For Christophe Berra and Cole Skuse to continually be picked with no regard for recent performances is is ridiculous. I am not saying that they have been playing particularly badly, but it must be so demoralising for the players not in the team to see these guys get picked whatever the weather. Whatever Berra and Skuse say, they will know in their heart of hearts that if they are fit, they will be in the team. It is just a fact.

Bru represents everything that McCarthy isn't. He is a risk taker. A player who will do something different in the hope that it comes off. And that is precisely why he hasn't played many games. Mick does not know what he is going to get from him.

Whereas with Skuse he knows what will happen. He will pass the ball backwards or sideways and slow down the tempo. Mick's approach is to plan for the worst case scenario rather than being proactive and that is Bru in a nutshell.

He is a player who frustrates because he doesn't always keep hold of the ball. He might give away a silly foul. He might shoot wildly over the top. But he does things that no other player on our squad can do. I love watching him play as he always looks to play forwards and speed up the tempo. He has wonderful vision and can pick passes like few others in our team. But because it doesn't work every time, he is left on the bench.

I found it very frustrating that despite making nine changes at Rotherham, Mick did not select Bru. It was a great opportunity to let him show what he can do.

Bru is one of those players who needs a run of games in the team, in order for him to develop some real consistency. Unfortunately he doesn't have a manager who truly believes in his ability. It would be a massive kick in the teeth if he left and found a club with a manager who trusted him, as I think he has the talent to really thrive at this level.

I am sure that those of you still reading this will wonder why I am bothering to defend one of our bench players when there are so many other pertinent issues at the club at this moment. And that is fair enough. I just feel that this argument about Bru encapsulates the problem not just with the manager but with the club as a whole. There are far too few risks taken.

We have a become used to seeing Mick match up with the opposition in terms of formation, especially in terms of numbers in the middle of the park, rather than trust in his own team to force the issue. His attitude is too often to plan for if we are 2-0 down, which is just so uninspiring.

You can count on one hand the number of games this season that we have really grabbed by the scruff of the neck and taken to the opposition. I can think of Reading, Leeds and Newcastle at home, and to an extent, the first half at QPR. Too often we need to concede in order to shake ourselves into life.

Again I come back to Kevin Bru. If you start him, he hopefully helps to get us into a strong position in the game, and then you can take him off should you feel the need. Instead the attitude seems to be 'What if he gives it away and we go 2-0 down?'. It is this that sums up why Mick McCarthy's style of football is so dire, because he has such a safety first approach.

It is for this reason that I think we will struggle to attract good enough players this summer. It is not just about the finances. We play awful football, therefore why would good quality players want to come to Ipswich. It is why Bru has not been playing, same with Bishop, Dozzell and Rowe. You cannot know if a player is ready unless you throw them in and give them a chance. But it is not McCarthy's style.

It would not surprise me if Bru left the club this summer, but it would seriously disappoint, as I do not believe that he has had anything like a fair crack of the whip. I know I am in a small minority here, but for those of you who are still reading this, I urge you to see my argument as we are in danger of casting off a really talented footballer who has so much more to offer our great club.

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homer_123 added 17:07 - May 4
Ah Kevin Bru - there is indeed talent there - he can thread a pass and is certainly a more forward thinking player but, the problem is very simple.

He drifts in and out of games far too easily.

He is too lightweight for this division.

He has yet to impress over a 90 min spell.

Therefore, as decent as he is, he's no more than a squad player/ impact sub.

hampstead_blue added 17:08 - May 4
A well considered article.

In short, I agree.

TractorCam added 17:34 - May 4
Brilliant article, agree 100%, last season he was sadly hit with injuries but we were much better with him than without him. This season I like the current midfield of Skuse/Diagouraga, Huws and Ward, but would certainly have Bru being 4th choice and ready to make an impact off the bench ahead of Bishop

christiand added 17:34 - May 4
Bru, to me, is like Gerken. Not good enough for a starting position, but can do a job off the bench. Whenever he is given the opportunity to start he often fails to deliver. I certainly feel he has ability, but he seems incapable of maintaining form over a series of consecutive games and dips in and out of matches. I would think he is a source of frustration for MM, as he is like a bag of All sorts - you just don't know what you are going to get today.

therein61 added 17:49 - May 4
Good article "pickersblue22" and many valid points Kevin Bru is like so many of our squad who are not proper blokes and must be very frustrated not to be given a decent run in the side knowing full well as you say when certain proper blokes are fit they walk back in that in it's self destroys any confidence(Pitman had the audacity to ask the same question and that will be him gone!!) they might have held, with regards your post "homer123" I agree with your first sentence until you reached "but" then for me you have fully described the waste of space that is Cole Skuse in the rest of it and his continual presence is why our midfield is so easily overwhelmed.

Mullet added 17:57 - May 4
Classic Jaime Peters syndrome. Good but not good enough, gets better when he isn't the team and his flaws seem forgotten about.


southnorfolkblue added 21:07 - May 4
You make a number of valid points, but I disagree with you on the fundamental issue regarding Bru. He is bang average at best and would be nowhere near the starting line up for any promotion seeking side. The fact that he is even up for consideration here is an example of the main problem here, namely that we have to shop in the bargain basement for players

BaltachaFanClub added 21:31 - May 4
Good read, and well written, I would love to see Kevin Bru the talented midfielder every week, but the sad truth is that he only exists in the sense that applies to so many players of his nature, he doesn't take his chances. Someone mentioned Jamie Peters, I would raise them a Danny Sonner, or maybe compare him to a late life Tommy Miller, someone who is great every 4th game, but unlike Miller, and more like Sonner (or maybe Marco Holster) he simply doesnt have 4 games in a row to compare with, I remember down at Southampton in the cup Dylan Connolly looked like a world beater, or one of my favourite recent players Paul Anderson, who is now leaving Cobblers having failed to cement his position once more players who in a winning team do play games as luxury items, sadly Mr Bru is a luxury footballer, and we need him to be more Colin Healy esque, work hard, put it in and then eventually your day in the sun comes, and you keep a gobsh*te like Cesc Fabregas in your pocket for 90 mins (no I am not saying Healy was a great player, just in that one game)

I want Bru to be our luxury player, our new Jimmy Bullard, a man who makes space by looking at it, and scores the ridiculous goals, but he is more Jonas Axeldahl than Gio Dos Santos.

armchaircritic59 added 21:35 - May 4
Some good and interesting points from all the above. One or two from me to add to them. Why do we HAVE to shop in the footballing equivalent of Poundland? ME could throw another £10/15 million or more at the squad and hardly notice it's gone. He's probably got that rattling around at the back of the sofa! Before anyone mentions the great god FFP, almost nobody else takes any notice of it, so why do we? Which brings me neatly to "taking a risk", I'm talking of the calculated variety, not close your eyes and stick a pin in type. It seems we have become ever more adverse to doing such a thing at this club. I can be pretty sure that as a (very) successful businessman, ME has taken a few of those in his career. So probably time to do that here. I like the saying "to take no risk is the greatest risk of all"! That's the thing with calculated risks, some you will win and some you will lose, but if you're good at it, you'll get more of the former!


heathen66 added 22:27 - May 4
Excellent Blog, 100% agree
I believe if Bru and Huws had a number of games they would make an ideal partnership in the engine room. Bru has vision to pick out a pass, is already looking forward before he gets the pass and has the ability to unlock defences, however as stated, he has flare, he is not a safety first player, he will give the ball away, and for those reasons alone will never make McCarthys team on a regular basis

TR11BLU added 07:46 - May 5
Great blog and whilst I dont agree on all counts the crux of the problem is the manager. Until the Dinosaur leaves we will keep going round this issue. He will play his proper blokes come what may.

FFS ME get shot ....

RoyalAscotBlue added 07:54 - May 5
I love it when people start out by saying that they will not discuss the MM issue, and then go on to point out his many flaws and just how many ways his dreadful management is killing the club. It is unavoidable.

For me Bru could stay or go... We just need a different manager, for the reasons you have pointed out and many other besides.

RoyalAscotBlue added 07:57 - May 5
I love it when people start out by saying that they will not discuss the MM issue, and then go on to point out his many flaws and just how many ways his dreadful management is killing the club. It is unavoidable.

For me Bru could stay or go... We just need a different manager, for the reasons you have pointed out and many other besides.

cartman1972 added 07:54 - May 6
Bru couldn't pass wind let alone a ball.....weak and poor at best.

carsey added 18:12 - May 7
However good or bad Bru is he is lazy off the ball and and he's not good enough to have in the team as a luxury player who can be allowed to wander around and join in when he feels like it

jas0999 added 18:19 - May 20
Bru - well it is an interesting one. I think he has been slightly unlucky with injuries and has been played out of position by a manager who has preferred the more negative option of Douglas.

Having said that, you could probably count Brus excellent performances on one hand. Like many others in our squad, he has good days, bad days and plenty of average ones. Overall he's average and not quite good enough.

Bottom line for me, is although there is clearly some talent there, he often goes missing for a large percentage of the game. Moving forward, the squad needs an overhaul and Bru hasn't pushed on. Time to go.
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