Dozzell: I'd Love it If There Were Six or Seven Youngsters in the First Team Next Season
Thursday, 4th Apr 2019 16:23
Town teenager Andre Dozzell is looking forward to lining up alongside several other youngsters next season as manager Paul Lambert seeks to restore the club to the Championship at the first time of asking.
Okay, rock-bottom Town’s fate has not been rubber-stamped yet but since they are 13 points plus goal difference from safety with just seven games left to play even Lambert could be forgiven for putting his plans in place for at least a season in League One.
Dozzell, who will turn 20 early next month, is one of many academy products who the Town boss has strongly hinted will form the nucleus of next season’s first team, a prospect that thrills the son of ex-Town and Tottenham Hotspur star Jason Dozzell, who made a scoring debut back in February 1984 when he was still a pupil at the town’s Chantry High School.
“There are a lot of young lads who have come through who are all very talented and have shown they can play at Championship level,” said Dozzell. “There are plenty of others on their way as well.
“It’s good to be a part of it and in the case of Flynn Downes we’ve been together since the U9s. We’ve come a long way together and even played for England alongside each other.
“We’re mates but we still have that rivalry on the pitch because we’re fighting to get in the first team and stay there.
“It has been great playing for my country and the success we had in winning the U19 European Championship was very memorable.
“That was a great experience, playing against the very best teams in Europe in our age group and winning the tournament.
“It’s obviously up to the gaffer but I’d love it if there were six or seven of us youngsters in the first team next season.
“I need a big season myself – first of all loads of games and also scoring goals and supplying assists as often as possible.
“I want to be good enough to virtually run games from my position in midfield. I know I can do it but it’s time I showed it. I just need a run of games and then I can show what I have to offer.”
After making his debut three years ago and being the son of a former Premier League, did Dozzell think supporters were maybe expecting too much, too, from him? He added: “Maybe, but I think that’s just part and parcel of what a footballer has to deal with. I don’t think about it and just try to play freely without putting any pressure on myself.”
Dozzell featured from the start of the pre-season home clash with West Ham in July last year but faded from the picture until then boss Paul Hurst turned to him again a couple of months later, and he has made just 15 senior appearances in total this term, only six of which have not been in the role of substitute.
He added: “From a personal point of view that was frustrating but at the end of the day I could see his [Hurst’s] point.
“After my cruciate injury I’d been out for a year, I was only 19 years old and Championship football is very quick, very up and down. I could see where he was coming from but that didn’t mean it was any less frustrating for me.
“Fitness is everything. I’m still working most days in the gym and I want to get bigger in terms of my body. Hopefully that will come and I’ll get more powerful out on the pitch.”
Is his father a ready source of advice “I talk to him a lot to be honest. He’s probably my harshest critic – even when I’ve had a good game he won’t give me too much credit.
“He likes to keep my feet on the ground and tells me I have to keep applying myself if I’m going to be in the team on a regular basis. It’s not hard to take; in fact I’m sure it helps me.
“I’ve never felt that I’m under any extra pressure because of who my dad happens to be. The way I see it, we’re two different players. He’s had his career, I’m having mine now and I’m still trying to progress.
“I’ve looked back and seen videos of my dad playing. There’s a show on Sky called Premier League Years and I’ve seen a fair bit of him on that for Ipswich and Tottenham. There’s a lot on YouTube as well and I enjoy seeing what he was like as a player.”
Dozzell is adamant he is fully fit again after the knee injury that sidelined him for more than a year, adding: “I don’t even think about it in games. I’m completely confident with it, touch wood. It’s all good.
“Both Freddie Sears and Grant Ward are out now with the same injury and I feel for both of them. I wouldn’t wish the injury on anyone and I just hope they come back stronger next season.”
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