Downes Out to Avoid Red Mist and Red Cards
Monday, 21st Aug 2017 17:24
Flynn Downes was red-carded twice with the U18s last season, an experience he is doing his best to avoid now he has graduated to first-team level.
The 18-year-old, who hails from Brentwood and first joined the club academy when he was only seven, said: “I like to play on the edge but I’ve been working quite hard to control it.
“I’ll never take tackling out of my game but I want to be in control. Every now and again the red mist descends but I’m working on it and it’s getting better. “
Downes has made a considerable impact during the first few games of the new season and will clock up his fifth senior appearance in tomorrow night’s Caribao Cup second round tie at Crystal Palace, alongside several of his contemporaries after boss Mick McCarthy’s decision to field a side likely to be the youngest-ever in the club’s history.
He is still pinching himself that he will be performing at a Premier League ground and added: “It’s going to be an unbelievable experience, but it’s a game we’ll be trying to win.
“We’ll be looking to play well and go from there. I’m going into the game believing we can get something. It will be an inexperienced side but I think we can do well.
“If you’d told me a year ago that I’d be playing for Ipswich at Crystal Palace, maybe against the likes of Christian Benteke, I’d have said ‘No way’. But having said that it’s what I would have wanted, playing against a Premier League team, and it’s what I was working towards. I’m living the dream, you could say.
“It all takes a bit of time to get used to because it’s all so new. Things like signing autographs, it’s unbelievable. The first thing I thought when I was asked was ‘What’s going on here’ because that was me 10 years ago. It’s crazy really.”
Downes admits the demands of first team football are vastly different to anything he experienced previously. He said: “It’s hard, very hard and physically as well. Training is 100 per cent non-stop and the matches are just so much different. I’ve just got to keep working hard in the gym and try to get used to it.
“It takes a bit of getting used to but I feel the preparation we do is a huge help, things like the ice baths and the cryotherapy. I feel good. I’ll be honest and admit I don’t really like the cryotherapy and the ice baths are horrible. But I know it’s good for me, for my muscles, and it helps the recovery.”
Downes is the latest in a long line of Town academy graduates and admits the club’s proud record of producing young talent, something that goes back to when then boss Jackie Milburn launched the system in the Sixties, fuelled his ambition to succeed.
He added: “It pushes you on even more because you know there’s a pathway to the first team and I’m not the only one. Myles Kenlock has done it and so have Andre Dozzell and Tristan Nydam.
“It definitely helps to have some of the other younger lads coming through as well. You can talk about things together, like the training and the games.”
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Photo: Larry McQuillan/Drogheda United
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