Spence: More Than One String to My Bow
Thursday, 16th Nov 2017 18:08
Versatile Town defender Jordan Spence admits he sees right-back as his number one role but likes to think of himself as the play-anywhere type.
The 27-year-old Londoner said: “If I was picking a position it would be right-back. I think that’s what I regard as my primary position. However, I like to think I’m good at fooling people and playing in other positions as well!”
Spence was in his preferred position in Town’s recent 3-0 home win over Preston North End and added: “It is always good to play a part in keeping a clean sheet. It was good to win and good to come off the pitch with a zero. It had been a while, not that we’re counting.
“We just know we have to go for it and it’s clear to see we have tons of options up the top end of the pitch, and I actually think we have a really good bunch of defenders as well. The clean sheet is our little cherry on top.”
Town will be looking for as many clean sheets as possible as they embark on a demanding programme of five games in 15 days, although the double capture of Joe Garner and Martyn Waghorn, together with the form of David McGoldrick, has significantly increased the goal threat at the other end of the pitch.
Spence said: “I don’t think the stats lie with regard to how many goals we scored towards the back end of last season and this year.
"The goal in football is to score one more goal than the opponent so whatever way we manage to do that isn’t irrelevant but it contributes to the feeling that we believe we can score a goal if we can stop one going in the back of our net.
“Also, when you carry a threat you can also ease the pressure, and the nerves and the jitters, further back. You have less defending to do because you can play higher up the pitch.
“All those things roll into one – you’ve seen the variety of goalscorers we have and the array of forwards we have. As defenders, we train against them every day and we know there are goals there.”
Returning to the topic of his favourite position, Spence added: “I just enjoy playing. I don’t really want to get bogged down in terms of ‘I want to be doing this or I want to be doing that’. I actually think I’m quite a good football player so wherever I’m asked to play, I believe I can do a good job.
“I enjoyed my time at centre-half and that versatility became useful because of the injuries to other central defenders. I don’t think it will be the last time I play there either.
“But I really just enjoy playing, no matter where, because I’d rather be playing than not playing.
“I played in a variety of positions as I was growing up. I played central midfield, believe it or not, then centre-half and eventually found myself playing at right-back as I was breaking into the first team at West Ham.
“Whether that was with the idea of moving me inside when certain physical components arrived, I don’t know, but it didn’t happen and I just enjoyed playing right-back.
“I like getting up and down the pitch, I like using my mobility, but if I’m asked to do the other side of things I feel I’m capable of that as well.
“You play behind the ball all the time as a central defender, as opposed to there being moments as a full-back when you play ahead of it.
“But I think the fundamentals of defending remain the same – maybe different angles as different moments – and I like to think I’m a decent defender.
“I think I’ve got all the capabilities to do both positions so I think I would be selling myself short if I said I could only do one.”
Town have suffered their fair share of injuries this term but Spence has started 13 of their 15 league games and admits he was disappointed when manager Mick McCarthy dropped him in preference to on-loan Wolves man Dominic Iorfa for the away defeats by Sheffield United and Cardiff.
He said: “Of course I was and that goes without saying. I wouldn’t be competitive and I wouldn’t have got myself to this phase in my career if I wasn’t.
“But at the end of the day, when those moments come, it’s team first and be ready. I’m only ever a moment’s call away from playing.
“We all want to play in every game but we also know there is competition for places.
“Thus far we have all played minutes and we’re all going to be needed, especially with the run of games we have coming up.
“What team are you going to be in at this level of football where there aren’t capable players all looking to get games? It is what it is and we fight tooth and nail to be out there – and then, if we’re not, we support those who are.
“The injuries we have picked up this season seem to have been concentrated on different areas at different times. It was centre-halves at first and now it’s central midfield players but I’ve got full faith in whoever has to step in.
“Callum [Connolly] stepped into midfield against Preston and did a great job and the two young boys, Flynn [Downes] and Tristan [Nydam], have more than lived up to expectations.
“They will both be champing at the bit to play and hopefully their young legs will be able to deal with the rigours of it.
“Neither Flynn nor Tristan have surprised us in terms of their abilities because that has been clear for some time. The test is to translate that to games when the pressure is on but they are both level-headed individuals and their focus is on football.
“I’ve played against Ipswich teams over the years and I could name dozens of players who have come through and are still playing the game. Not necessarily at Ipswich, but this football club knows how to prepare young people for professional football.”
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