Hurst: Dozzell Will Have to Stay Patient and Trust Us
Thursday, 13th Sep 2018 18:35
Blues boss Paul Hurst says Andre Dozzell will have to remain patient and trust in the club’s management with the midfielder’s 2018/19 campaign having got off to a frustrating start.
Last month Hurst revealed that tests has revealed “some deficiencies in terms of his physical make-up that unfortunately bolster the chances of a recurrence of an injury”, the 19-year-old having missed all but the first 45 minutes of last season due to a torn cruciate knee ligament.
The Town manager says Dozzell, who has featured regularly for the U23s in recent weeks and with whom he has regularly been training, isn’t yet ready for a return to the senior side.
“Again Andre’s not in consideration for the first team at this moment in time,” he said. “He’s getting through [U23s] games and the overall distance he’s covering, things like that, is fine. It’s other parts of that.
“He’s far from someone like myself, but I alluded to it the other week about how I could still play for 90 minutes but only for a certain time how I would like and then 80 minutes I’d be nowhere near it.
“Andre’s nowhere near that but he can’t reach the levels that would be required throughout that and he’s working extremely hard doing extra sessions that have been provided for him to strengthen that knee to hopefully get him to the level where we can then make a fair judgement on him.
“But I reiterate what I’ve said right from the start, he’s showing a fantastic attitude to get to that point.
“He’s someone I do want to work with and I hope that in time he’ll get the rewards that his hard work deserves.”
Regarding the situation regarding the “deficiencies” he referred to previously, Hurst added: “It’s improving and that’s where it’s nice to have some concrete evidence that can suggest that we’re ‘here’ but we want to be ‘here’ and we’re making progress.
“And every game he plays realistically it should get stronger but what we had noticed when we were talking was from pre-season to six or seven weeks in there wasn’t really a big enough difference that you would naturally get and a lot of the other players had got.
“Hopefully when I speak about Andre it comes across in the right way. I think I’ve made it clear I think he’s a very, very good player but I do feel a bit coming to Ipswich that he’s been held up on this pedestal that’s not quite right.
“I don’t think he’s had enough games or done enough in his career so far to really [warrant that]. [Or is] for his own good, as in not putting pressure on a player at the age that he’s at.
“There’s no doubt he’s got talent and ability and as I’ve said before he will have a long, good career, I’m sure of that but let’s not put to much on him.
“There are a lot of other good players that maybe haven’t been in the team just yet or haven’t quite hit form yet, so I feel like I’m talking about him a helluva a lot and don’t know if that’s particularly good for lad, I would say.”
Asked whether the England U19 international is frustrated given the start to this season following on from last year’s serious injury, Hurst said: “Yes, and I think that’s part of the battle with him. He wants it instantly and I can relate to it.
“I was very fortunate, I never had that until very late in my career where I had an injury that kept me out for any length of time.
“I understand the type of lad he is and a lot of credit to him and I think maybe 30 or 40 years ago he would have been asked just to get on with it and we’d all have applauded him for that.
“But we’re trying to look after what I think is an asset for the football club so that he gets back stronger and fitter than he ever has been so he doesn’t risk that injury.
“People can say it was a freak injury, the medical team are far better suited to giving you better answers in more detail, but I think some of the things that they’ve looked at highlights that he’s more at risk at least of doing something like that again.
“And that’s what we’ve tried to explain to Andre. Yes, you might be a little frustrated at this moment in time, but what’s the worst case? Would you rather that than get injured again and miss another year and it’s stretching out over a year? I’d suggest that’s not a good idea to go down that route.
“So he’s having to be patient but it’s clear he enjoys his football more than some other people, I’d happily admit that. You can see it in him, he’s like a lad when it’s break time at school and he can’t wait to get out on the playground and play football, so I do understand where he’s coming from.
“He’s just got to trust us and understand everything is in his best interest. I see it as a duty of care for someone who is and should be a real asset for us.”
Hurst says being asked to train with the U23s rather than the senior squad shouldn’t be seen as demotion.
“It’s like if I’ve got a squad of 26 players and I want to do 11 v 11, I’m not sure that we can do that, numbers-wise we can’t,” he added.
“Do you have two people stood in one position, do you have them stood on the side and then swap six lads over? I want to work with what we’re going with and what’s best.
“That will be fluid over time. Sometimes there will be more injuries than others, so it might be no one who is with the U23s group, other times it might be positionally that we don’t need certain types so they’ll get asked to train elsewhere.
“But when it comes to doing the gym sessions, things like that, they’re all together, they’re in groups but they’ll be back into that side of it.
“And that togetherness is there but what we want to try and create is an environment where I can back up what I say in terms of you having to be at it every day otherwise someone’s going to overtake you and you’re going to slip down the pecking order.
“If you’ve only got 16 players, that’s never going to work. The situation we get ourselves to, that’s the reality of it. Some days it will be that we’ll have all the group training together, if we can make it work.
“But there are some sessions where it doesn’t and sometimes I think it’s seen as a punishment - and it might be on the odd occasion - but in general it’s about doing what’s right for the first team on that given day.
“Mondays and Tuesdays aren’t too bad but when it gets to later on during the week, you want that that tighter group and want to work on specific things.”
He admits his definition of being fit enough to play in the first team may be beyond other people’s.
“Yeah, I think so,” he reflected. “I think even some lads that have played in the first team, they’ve not been exactly where we would like them to be overall.
“It’s a case of working hard constantly. I’ve seen Jordan Roberts today, for example. At the minute he’s missed out, he’s trained with the U23s because we’re doing 11 v 11 and I’m not going to have 13 v 13 and pretend it’s 11 v 11.
“But I’ve seen him doing running at the end of the session of his own bat. That’s the type of attitude that we’re looking for.
“I’m sure he’s disappointed at the moment, when he isn’t training with us. But it’s about being at your best so when any opportunity does arise that at the very least you’re fit and ready to give it a good shot and then hopefully you’ve then got the physical side that you can last a game, you can bring the quality throughout the game, not just for a short period of time.”
Players are also being asked to do more work in the gym which, as TWTD revealed earlier in the summer, has been revamped at a cost of around £50,000, with double sessions twice a week.
“That’s Tuesdays and Thursdays,” Hurst said. “It’s not the Monday or Friday, Fridays are very light before a game to save their legs.
“We've seen massive benefits from it in the past, it’s something that we believe in and I think already you can see one or two lads benefiting from that and in time we want to produce good footballers, of course, but part of being a footballer is being strong, being quick.
“It might only be as quick as you can be, you still might not be the quickest, but if we’ve made you a second quicker over 100 metres, then that’s a big improvement and that’s what we’ll try and do with them all.”
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