McCarthy: Garner a Striker of the Old School
Monday, 7th Aug 2017 16:51
Blues boss Mick McCarthy believes summer signing Joe Garner is a striker of the old school who would have thrived during his own playing days. Garner, 29, netted a 50th minute winner on his debut as the Blues defeated Birmingham 1-0 at Portman Road on Saturday.
“Freddie Sears’s movement [to the near post] was great, but Joe’s was as well,” McCarthy reflected looking back at the goal.
“He went out wide and then he didn’t whinge about being out wide and not getting the ball, he got his backside in there and then I think it was Craig Gardner, he had a look at him and by the time he turned around and he saw his number on his shirt, he’d got across him and scored.
“It was a really good goal, it was well-worked and a good finish. But his all-round performance I thought was very, very good.”
Blues and Rangers legend Terry Butcher was critical of the ex-Ibrox frontman’s heading ability prior to his signing, but McCarthy believes it’s one of Garner’s strengths.
“Yes, somebody said he couldn’t head it, some reputable guy I heard say, ‘Why have we signed him because he can’t head it’,” the Town boss said. “I thought that was one of his strong points when we signed him. He’s very, very good.
“He bashed us one year at Preston, just about on his own, and that was with Christophe and Chambo and I don’t know if Tommy Smith was around, but he really set about us and gave us a really tough time and scored a hat-trick in the FA Cup replay [in January 2014].
Garner also showed the defensive side of his game during Saturday’s win: “That’s manna from heaven, believe me. TC and I were chatting about him and we both said he’s old school. TC said ‘He could have played with us, couldn’t he?’. And I said, ‘Not half’.
“The real rough and tumble that it was 30 years ago, he’d have loved it. And he comes in, he does his job, he’s low maintenance, he’s everything I thought he was and a little bit more because I didn’t know his personality.
“You ask people but then you only get to know them when they walk in the building and I’ve been delighted with him.”
Meanwhile, McCarthy says he’s looking for Myles Kenlock to battle Jonas Knudsen for the left-back or left wing-back role during the season ahead, the Danish international having started Saturday’s match.
“He’s behind Jonas, he knows that, he’s got to fight Jonas for the shirt,” he said. “Having a few good games towards the end of last season doesn’t let him overtake Jonas, who had loads of good games last season and has been terrific.
“Myles has to be competitive for that position and, like I’ve said about the strikers, it’s hard work that wing-back job, getting up and down, and if I have to leave one out I’d like to think I could play one of them on Saturday and one of them on Tuesday.
“They’re pretty versatile because Jonas could play left-sided centre-back in a three, which he has done, which is going to be handy.”
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