McCarthy Played a Part in Judge's Decision to Stay at Town
Monday, 8th Apr 2019 18:54
Former Town boss Mick McCarthy played a part in Alan Judge’s decision to stay at Portman Road for another two years, the Republic of Ireland midfielder has revealed.
Before putting pen to paper on the new deal Judge put in a call to McCarthy, who quit Town a year ago on Wednesday and has since returned to his previous role as the Republic manager, where he has former assistant Terry Connor alongside him, as well as ex-Town fitness coach Andy Liddell and current Town director of football Dave Bowman both working on a part-time basis.
Judge explained: “I spoke to Mick and he was great about it. He assured me that as long as I keep performing well I’m in the shop window for him, even if I’m playing in League One next season.
“Playing for my country is a big thing for me and I want to win as many caps as possible, so it was important I heard the manager’s take on it.
“Mick said he was already picking some players from League One and he knows all about me and what I’m like as a player. He kind of gave me the go-ahead and he spoke very highly of everybody here as well.”
But McCarthy’s thumbs-up wasn’t alone in influencing Judge. “It was a very easy decision because I’ve had long enough at the club and know what it’s all about,” said the former Brentford man who signed for Town on January, initially on a short-term contract through to the end of the current campaign.
“I’m enjoying it here and I couldn’t see any reason why I wouldn’t stay on. I’ve enjoyed my time here, playing Saturday then Tuesday or Wednesday a lot of weeks, and I’m looking forward to at least another two seasons of the same.”
Asked if he was tempted to put the decision on hold in case another Championship club made him a firm offer, he replied: “I could have done that but I can’t predict the future. Ipswich made me an offer that I was very pleased to accept and that was it.
“I’ve had a good few months since I signed and it seems everybody has taken to me, which has played a big part in making me feel at home.
“The manager, Paul Lambert, also played a big part in my decision. He talked to me about his vision for next season and what he wanted to do once he has had a full pre-season with the squad, which is always important. I was intrigued at what he had to say and I’m looking forward to being a part of it.”
With Town fans having already earmarked Judge as the key man in a promotion challenge next season, if that’s how things work out could Judge be inviting extra pressure? “When the pressure’s on that’s when you turn up as a player,” he added.
"And it’s also about enjoying it and getting as many minutes on the pitch as I can. They’re a good bunch of lads here – Chambo was getting me in a headlock to make sure I didn’t get away so that also made it an easy decision!
“But I’m a family man as well and that was always going to play a huge part in the decision. I wanted to get things set so I could concentrate on my football with no worries. We’re getting the kids sorted with schools and both my wife and I think this is a nice part of the world.”
Despite a string of impressive displays in the last three months, Judge believes he is still playing catch-up after the double leg break he suffered at Portman Road three years ago when he was a Brentford player and came out second best in an early challenge from Luke Hyam.
That sidelined him for 21 months and he added: “People keep saying I missed out on my prime and I know what they mean, but while I’m 30 I still feel as good as I did a couple of years ago.
“I’m still getting a bit of fitness back with each game I play and I’m expecting to be an even better player next season.
“What I said to the manager is that the more games I play this season, the more it will stand me in good stead for next season.
“I can see me playing into my mid or late 30s. With the injury I was able to work on a lot of things and I don’t see me as finishing when I’m 32 or 33. The way I feel – and the way I play the game – I think I’m more than likely to go on for four or five years at least.”
Judge was asked if he had thought prior to his injury that he might even end his career at Brentford. He responded: “I did and I didn’t, especially after breaking my leg. The club can’t stand still and I was playing in a certain way, which they’ve now changed and that’s fair enough.
“So I wasn’t expecting them to wait for me for two years and it was just the way things worked out. But there’s no way I left there feeling bitter because I have nothing but good things to say about that club.
“They are a very well run club and that’s down to the owner. He’s put a lot of money in there and they will soon be in their new stadium, so it all looks good. But hopefully we’ll be able to get one over on them on Wednesday.”
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