Judge: I've Never Waited This Long For a Goal
Monday, 8th Apr 2019 19:56
Alan Judge ended a 13-game wait for a win at Bolton on Saturday and returns to former club Brentford on Wednesday still seeking his first goal in a Town shirt.
The 30-year-old Irish midfielder, who last week signed a two-year contract, said: “I’ve never waited this long before for a goal. I need one and the sooner the better. Hopefully it will come on Wednesday and I want to stick one or two in the net soon.”
Judge spent nearly two years out of action after suffering a double leg fracture in April 2016, playing for the Bees at Portman Road, and admits the injury has changed him as a player.
He added: “I’m probably not as quick as I used to be but I think that has made me cleverer, with more one and two touch stuff instead of driving with the ball the way I did before.
“I used to do what Teddy [Bishop] does – he’s very good at driving with the ball. Maybe I’ve lost a bit of pace but I feel I’m making up with it with my passing and movement.
“I’ll give the ball to Teddy and he can beat two or three players, whereas Doz [Andre Dozzell] is similar to me. I’ve changed a bit and adapted my game accordingly but my vision isn’t any different to what it was before I got injured.”
Judge sees it as part of his role at the club to help nurture the young talent upon which manager Paul Lambert intends to rely heavily next season. “We’ve got a lot of good young players.
“Doz came into the team at Bolton on Saturday and I thought he played very well. He’s a very good footballer and it’s good for him to play in games like that against players who probably want to leave a little bit on you. It showed he can deal with the physical side of things.
“There are other good players too, like Flynn [Downes] and Teddy, and they’re also good lads. I’ve been around the game a while now and I’ve had things happen to me, like the serious injury, so I’d like to think I can help them on their way with a few things.
“Nearly all the good youngsters – there’s Jack [Lankester] as well – are midfielders so it’s competition for me and I won’t be taking anything for granted regarding a place in the team.
“Everybody wants a game and the manager has shown he likes to shuffle things a bit now and again. The same rules always apply – if you don’t perform you’ll be out of the team – regardless of how old you are. I always give everything I can and I’ve never been any different.
“I was quite lucky when I started at Blackburn because there were so many top professionals there. Dougie [Jonathan Douglas] was there at the time, and also Ryan Nelson, so I had both of them looking after me and I’d like to think that I could do the same for the young guys here.”
When he joined in January on a deal through to the end of the season Judge made clear his preference to play in the number 10 role but he has been given a licence to roam by manager Lambert, even if he is regarded as the most left-sided midfielder on the books.
He added: “The gaffer’s a bit light on left-wingers at the moment so I’ve been out there and I’ve no problem with that. It’s true I like it best in the middle of the pitch and wherever you put me it seems I’ll always end up there one way or the other.
“The manager has said he is happy to let me do that and I think that’s how he will get the best out of me. I had that at Brentford with Mark Warburton and Dean Smith, and I’ve got it now with Paul Lambert.
“I can also play as a different sort of midfielder and I did it at Brentford when we first got into the Championship.
“I played the sitter – Dougie was the box to box midfielder – and I did enjoy it but at the moment I do see myself as having one or two more years at number 10.
“The football that we played up at Bolton at the weekend, the one and two-touch stuff, I think we’ve been playing a lot of that for some time, but without the end product, the goals.
“When the gaffer has a full pre-season with us he will implement exactly what he wants. I’m looking forward to that and it is one of the reasons I wanted to stay here.”
If Town find themselves in League One next season Judge expects fans to be surprised by the standard of football on offer.
“I think a good number of the teams there play decent football there,” he said. “I found that out when I was at Brentford. We played a lot of football but we weren’t the only ones.
“I watch a few games in League One now and I see some good football. There might be some when teams are going back to front but I think it’s a bit better than what people think.
“If we’re playing there I want us to be successful. I had a taste of it at Brentford and I want more of the same with Ipswich.”
Judge feels blessed that supporters at all his clubs have identified with his style of football.
“I’ve been lucky with the clubs I’ve been at. At Blackburn and even when I was on loan at Plymouth and Notts County the fans seemed to like the way I played.
“It seems I’m one of the lucky ones that the fans seem to take to and I’m pleased to say it has been the same here.
“Someone even tweeted me saying they were going to get a tattoo of me on their backside. I think I’ll give that one a miss though!”
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