Supple: Webster Was Huge Influence
Thursday, 14th Jan 2016 13:40 by Josh Prenderville
Former Town goalkeeper Shane Supple doesn’t believe goalkeeping coach Malcolm Webster should be blamed were either Dean Gerken or Bartosz Bialkowski to suffer a dip in form.
Sixty-one-year-old coach Webster has been in his second spell at Town since 2011, having previously worked at the club between 1994 and 2004 during George Burley and Joe Royle's reigns.
Gerken is currently Town’s number one having been in impressive form of late, while manager Mick McCarthy rates Bialkowski similarly highly.
"I wouldn't blame Malcolm Webster at all for any dip in form of Dean or Bart. They're experienced keepers, you're not going to be able to change them too much at this stage. They're moulded into the kind of keepers they are and that's it.”
Supple says Webster was a huge influence on his own career: "He was probably the biggest reason in my decision to come to Ipswich in the end.
“During the times I went over on trial, with all the work he did with me, he was a bit old school to an extent - not in his coaching as such but in his approach to it. He tests you, mentally and physically. I enjoyed that. He was massive for me."
Supple, who has recently begun playing again at an amateur level in Ireland, admits that Webster's coaching methods could be seen as an old school approach in the modern game.
"He'd see if he could break you. He'd know if you were up to it or not. I felt that he was the best one to develop me and push me on.
"Nowadays, his methods possibly, now I don't know if he's still got the same style, I'd imagine that he has, it’s moved on I think, the goalkeeping coaching from that style."
The former Town academy player, who won an FA Youth Cup medal with the Blues in 2005, also had high praise for Town's academy director Bryan Klug.
"He's the best outfield coach I've come across. He gets the best out of lads. He was really good for the club and really suited the club.
"Obviously he stepped up to help Jim Magilton with first team management and I don't think that was his scene. Again, probably similar to myself, the politics and all that goes with it, that wasn't Bryan.
"He was better with the young lads and developing them and getting the best out of them. Bryan wouldn't be a nasty guy at all, and I think you need to be a little bit hard at times with the first team.
There were issues in the end with Jim for whatever reasons, and then Roy got rid of him, I don't know why."
The former Republic of Ireland U21 international suggested that while Klug, who returned to Town in 2013 after a spell with Tottenham, is an asset, that Town's academy has not performed to its previously high standards in recent years.
"It's a different place now. I know it was a bit different in our time, because we had just come out of administration and Joe [Royle] had to throw us in, we'd just won an FA Youth Cup. A lot of us got an opportunity off the back of that as well.
"Although Mick is great, I don't think there’s as many coming through, as there was. Whether that's down to the quality within the youth system at the moment, I don't know.
“I know they've no real scouts here [in Ireland] on the ground any more, which is unfortunate because the two guys [Larry Fox and Joe Martin] that were around when we were going over were brilliant.
“I don't think the club realised what they had. Ipswich dropped the ball there I feel, but there were a number of issues with the owner and the managers that were there at the time.
"These things happen in football. It is good to have Bryan back. I don't know how hands-on he is any more within that set-up compared to when he was there previously, but he's a good man."
Photo: Action Images
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