Rowe: I Wasn’t in a Great Place the Way Things Were
Thursday, 7th Nov 2019 20:22
Danny Rowe, whose first Town goal at Rochdale in midweek saw them climb back on top of League One, has admitted that rejection by former boss Paul Hurst affected him mentally.
The winger only made two substitute appearances during Hurst’s short spell in charge before he was dismissed in October last year, just 14 league games into his Portman Road reign and with Town bottom of the Championship table.
Rowe said: “I really can’t describe the feeling when you work hard all week, every week, and then you go into training one day to be told ‘You’re not with the boys, you’re training with the 23s’. It stays with you and it can affect you mentally a lot. You’re all over the place.
“I wasn’t in a great place the way things were. Even though the team was losing most weeks I still wasn’t getting a chance. It affected me to think I wasn’t getting anywhere near the team and I was being made to train with the U23s.”
Hurst’s departure and Paul Lambert’s arrival as his successor signalled a significant change for Rowe, although he spent the second half of last season on loan at Lincoln, his second temporary stint in as many seasons with the team who visit Portman Road on Saturday for an FA Cup first round tie.
Rowe added: “I remember coming on as a sub in the home game against Preston, which was the gaffer’s first game in charge.
“Paul Gallagher came on for them then went in goal after their keeper was sent off and he pulled off a great save from my shot. We drew 1-1 but it could have been a different story if I’d scored – but that’s football.
“At the time I wasn’t fit enough, not fully match fit I mean. I had hardly played before the gaffer came in so it made sense to go out and get games, which the gaffer made clear to me.
“He sent me to Lincoln last season very much with the thought of getting me playing and fit. Everything he has said, he has stuck by it.
“I spoke with the gaffer over the summer about it and he sat me down and said ‘Look, you’re going to get a chance here’ and he has stood by his words and hopefully I can keep repaying him.”
Rowe was lifted by his loan stint at Lincoln, where he helped them secure the League Two crown. “It was great to be a part of that and it made everything worthwhile,” he said.
“It was hard because I was thinking I shouldn’t be playing at that level and should have had a chance in the Championship with Ipswich.
“But you just have to ignore those thoughts and get on with playing. When you do and you realise you’re enjoying it, because you’re playing, the confidence starts to come back. Helping them to win the league was a big thing for me and made a big difference.”
A virtual bystander during the same period last term, Rowe has so far made eight league starts and a further four appearances from the bench, meaning he has featured in all but three of the club’s League One fixtures.
Casting his mind back to being frozen out last season, he added: “I was questioning myself about where I was at in terms of my career. I think it’s the hardest thing as a player, when you are giving your all and it’s just not happening for you.
“They play you in the U23s and you might score a couple of goals but you are still overlooked. It’s really tough to take but you can’t do anything about it because it’s outside your control.
“I even felt that if I’d been given a run in the side and then dropped it would have been a lot easier to take. The fact that I wasn’t given a chance was what made it so difficult for me.
Rowe has been referred to by Lambert as ‘a confidence player’ and the same label was applied by predecessor Mick McCarthy, who signed him from Macclesfield in January 2017.
“They’re both right, 100 per cent, no doubt about it,” the winger continued. “After being out on loan in the last two seasons my main aim at the start of this season was to try to cement myself into the squad and then the team.
“In the past I might have been a more direct player but I’ve learned a lot about game management and the fact that there are times when you have to keep the ball.
“The more I play, and especially if I can add a few goals, it will bring more confidence to do even better on the pitch.
“I’m a winger and I think all wingers have their day. You’ll see them do things that seem unbelievable one week and then the following week maybe things don’t go right for them.
“I just try to be as consistent as I can. It’s not a question of not taking risks but when you’re on the ball and a team-mate is in a good position it’s important you find them.
“The gaffer knew what he was talking about when he said I was a confidence player. He knew that when I hadn’t been selected for that long it does have an impact on you. It was important that when I went to Lincoln I got the games and we did well to win the league.”
Meanwhile, with Rowe’s contract due to expire in the summer, he accepts he is playing for his future at the club, adding: “My contract is up at the end of this season so basically I’m playing for a new one and there are a few of the lads in the same position.
“Every game matters and we’re obviously thinking about the financial side because we have to.
“But as long as you focus on the team and playing as much as you can that sort of thing takes care of itself. So far nothing concrete has been said about my situation so that’s where we’re at.”
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