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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