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Lambert: Judge Was Overthinking the Game
Thursday, 26th Sep 2019 12:12

Boss Paul Lambert says it didn’t surprise him that Alan Judge had a tough start to the season after a difficult summer and has opened up on the advice he gave to the 30-year-old when he was frustrated early on in the campaign.

Judge, who joined the Blues in January for a nominal fee from Brentford then signed a two-year contract in April, was targeted by Championship QPR, who made a number of bids which were rebuffed by Town owner Marcus Evans.

The move to the West London club appealed to Judge as he was still based in that area and the hospital where his daughter Emily is due to undergo two operations was close by.

Speaking to the club programme at the end of August, having recovered from a broken wrist which hampered his pre-season, Judge revealed that he was questioning himself after an indifferent start to the campaign.

“When the supporters watched me play against Sunderland they probably thought ‘Crikey, what’s going on with him?’.

“It was the same at Peterborough. I sat outside the dressing room after that game and thought to myself ‘I can’t even cross a ball’.

“The gaffer overheard me talking to myself and he knew where my head was and said it will come right in time.”

Asked about that pep talk, Lambert said he wasn’t aware of Judge’s comments in the programme but felt it was inevitable the tough summer would have some impact on the Republic of Ireland international.

“I don’t know what comments you're talking about, but I think the QPR thing and with everything that was going on, his head wasn’t [in the right place], which can happen,” he said.

“It didn’t surprise me, put it that way, it’s not something where I thought ‘Where’s that come from?’ because I knew it would happen with what was going on.

“But I knew he was a really good player and I know he can do it in a number of positions, he can do it wide, he can play as a 10, he can play in midfield.

“I played him up front off Kayden on Saturday because I knew he would cause trouble and he did because he comes in short and you don’t know whether to go in with him or to stay back. He plays a free role.

“I’ve been really happy with the way he’s played, every time I’ve played Judgey I’ve been happy with the way he’s played. There’s not a problem that way.”

Reflecting on what he said to Judge at Peterborough, Lambert recalled: “I think he was overthinking the game. The game’s an easy game, it’s only complicated because you overthink it, and that was more or less what I said to him.

“You’re overthinking things you do naturally. It’s like your natural talent coming through. It’s not a rocket science answer for me to say to him, ‘Stop overthinking. You do that, you’ll be totally fine, you’ll do things instinctively and that’ll bring you back to that level’.

“Saturday I thought he deserved a goal. He did everything right, he hit the post, took the goalkeeper out of it. I’m happy with Judgey, the way he’s played.”

When Judge signed in April committing himself to Town despite relegation to League One, there was an expectation that the Dubliner would be the key man in the team, however, as the season has progressed Lambert has impressed the importance of the Blues very much being a team, sacrificing the 'me' for the 'we', as he has put it on several occasions.

“Yes, that’s vital,” he reflected. “Every player’s different from one another so you need that team aspect.

“There’ll be guys that can't do what Judgey does and Judgey can’t do what the other guys do.

“It’s a team and that's what we have to have, we have to have a team because that’s what will win us things.

“You’ll get the individual things that will happen, but playing together as a team you need everybody to be ready for it.”

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ArnieM added 13:34 - Sep 26
Judge should just try to be a team player and not billy big bollox all the time. He demands every ball but then fails to do anything with it. Keep it simple AJ pass and move ...

Len_Brennan added 13:53 - Sep 26
Judge is a very good footballer & has qualities that could/should have seen him play in the Premier League by now, but I don't think he is as versatile as Lambert is making out.
He is not at his best played on the wing & he certainly couldn't manage wingback, so an advanced role in the centre is really where he needs to be. He wasn't particularly effective behind Jackson as a lone striker, although he may pair better off Norwood, were he up front, given his different skillset.
The main problem Judge has now though, is even in his best role (I'd argue), i.e. advanced centre midfield playing off 2 forwards, he would not be first choice to start, because Nolan has returned to the side with a bang. They are different types of players, but both are well suited to that position in their own way, as creators/providers and goal threats. Judge's curling strike against Gillingham was a beauty, at the end of a great move & would have been a real goal of the month contender had it been a fraction more to the left.
Lambert seems to be moving more to 3-5-2 formation at the moment, which would certainly suit Judge, but also suits Nolan and Dozzell in the advanced midfield role. Nolan is justifiably the man in possession at the moment though. I see Emyr Huws playing deeper, alongside or instead of Downes or Skuse.

Woolfenden Chambers, Wilson
Vincent-Young Garbutt
Downes, Skuse
Jackson, Norwood

Suffolkboy added 14:01 - Sep 26
Interesting LB ; and it’ll be interesting to see what PL actually does as the season and players progress : but also interesting to monitor AJ’s approach & how he responds to being encouraged to produce his best AND fit into a developing side .

BettyBlue added 14:11 - Sep 26
the new Jay Tabb/Jonathan Douglas

Linkboy13 added 16:37 - Sep 26
I sometimes think Paul Lambert is the man who over thinks the game with these rotation systems and worrying about what other teams are doing.

ArnieM added 18:46 - Sep 26
Judge has the flexibility/ adaptability of a wooden dinosaur. The biggest problem Lambert faces is how to prise Judge into an otherwise very adaptable and comparable squad. Should we be trying to make Judge “ fit”? Does he offer so much more than say Nolan, Huws, Downes, or Rowe ? Personally , I don’t think so .

Linkboy13 added 19:47 - Sep 26
The jury's out on Judge.

WhoisJimmyJuan added 20:47 - Sep 26
I thought Judge would usher in a new era.

grow_our_own added 21:25 - Sep 26
Objectively, Judge has been poor this season. As an attackingwide midfielder, he's there to assist and score. He's played almost every game, hasn't scored and has only two assists versus some poor opposition. While he's improved from an abject start to the season, he's not worth his perennial starting place in front of the likes of Dozzell, Dobra and Georgiou. Our attacking and goalscoring lately has left a lot to be desired.

I think Nolan has been pretty poor going forward too since his return. His defensive athleticism and closing-down is pretty good, but as per much of last season, his brain turns to marshmellow when passing forward in attacking areas. Hopefully just rusty and will recapture late last-season's form.

ITFCsince73 added 21:25 - Sep 26
If Judge doesn’t perform, there’s others ready to step in.
That goes for everyone it appears. That’s what wins things imo.

TheHound added 09:53 - Sep 27
Great player on his day - hope Lambo can get the best out of him

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