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Skuse: Talks On Future Under Way
Thursday, 13th Feb 2020 17:38

Cole Skuse has revealed that talks about his future in football are already under way with the Town hierarchy and could lead to him continuing as a player and then taking up a new, as-yet unspecified role at Portman Road.

The experienced midfielder’s current contract is due to expire in the summer. The club have a one-year option on his services that they could trigger, but preliminary discussions would appear to indicate Skuse is being considered for a future beyond 2021.

Skuse will be 34 next month and has made 578 appearances in all competitions, 271 of them for Ipswich after then boss Mick McCarthy signed him in the summer of 2013 following his rejection of a new deal with home town club Bristol City, where he originally joined the academy and signed full professional forms in 2004.

But there is nothing more guaranteed to spark a conversation than to question how long Skuse is likely to continue playing. “That’s not even a question that should be asked,” he said. “I’ve said it in the past and I’ll say it again now – age is just a number.

“It doesn’t get my back up – well it does to a degree – that people tar all 33 or 34-year-olds with the same brush. I don’t have a long injury list, I live my life right, I don’t drink, I have a good diet and if you look at my running stats now, compared to when I was 27, they are still the same. Age is just a number in my mind.

“Chambo has said the same and if you were to look at the stats we can prove it. There are all sorts of running stats available these days and they are indisputable.

“Look at my injury record and it’s almost non-existent. I have missed hardly any games since I came to Ipswich. I’m more than ready and capable of playing as many games as required.

“Will I be here next season? That’s a question I have been asked a few times in the past and I’m still here. We’re all settled here as a family – that’s my wife and three children – and I’d be happy to stay.

“We recently bought a place in Ipswich that we are renovating and the kids are very settled in schools, so if I was offered a contract here I’d love to stay.

“I have sat down with Marcus [Evans] and also with Lee [O’Neill], and that’s as far as we have got so far. The talks have not progressed beyond that stage yet.

“They have expressed an interest in keeping me at the club in a playing capacity and also after my playing days are over, which is very flattering to hear and something I’d love to take up because we love the place.

“We’ve loved the club since we’ve been here so when the talks progress a bit further down the line and things are ironed out it could be successful for all parties.”

Asked if any new deal depended on whether Town would be playing again in League One or in the Championship, Skuse replied: “I don’t know if that’s in their thinking. Like I said, they have spoken to me and expressed their interest in terms of keeping me at the club, not just in a playing capacity but in an off-the-field capacity as well. That’s a question you would have to ask Marcus and Lee, I guess.

“In any working environment, not just football, you need to know what’s happening. But it’s not my decision to make. They have their side of things to think about and I have mine, so when things come to fruition and are ironed out I am sure it will be nice for all parties.

“There will come a point when I need to know. I have three young children who are settled here, whether it be in school or nursery. I’ve got an option year and they are required to let me know by a certain date if they are going to exercise their right.

“Whether we are going to go down that route, I don’t know, but I don’t think the option year will be the thing. I think we are going to be discussing a new contract that will be for a playing role and then a life-after-football role but they haven’t given me idea how long it will be.

“I’ve had a chat with Marcus, I’ve had a chat with Lee and no one is hiding away from anything. It has been spoken about and they have said they want to talk again at a later stage, a bit closer to the end of the season, and then we’ll go from there.”

Skuse has never made any secret of his desire to stay in the game after hanging up his boots and has even expressed a desire to team up with close pal Luke Chambers with the Town skipper in the role of manager and vice-captain Skuse preferring to concentrate on the coaching side.

He added: “When I talk about work off the field, whether it’s coaching or stuff in the community or on match days, it’s something we – that’s me, Marcus, Lee and the manager – have spoken about. I’m doing my badges and some work with Woodbridge Town at the minute.

“I’ve decided to do that away from this club because I wanted to get out of the Ipswich environment and do the work with a local club. I want to get the coaching badges ticked off. I can do it alongside playing but it’s not at the forefront of my mind right now.

“I do feel more than capable of continuing to play and I want to do that for as long as I can. But, yes, it could be done alongside playing, although my main focus is on being a footballer for the foreseeable future.”

Skuse recently spent some time on the substitute’s bench and was asked if it felt strange, given the number of games he has started for Town.

“It was and it wasn’t,” he said. “It wasn’t strange because I got a neck injury in the Boxing Day game against Gillingham. I had an issue with one of the discs, which was why I didn’t play in the next two games.

“The lads did well to get a draw at Wycombe, who were the league leaders at the time, so I couldn’t be knocking on the gaffer’s door saying I should be back in the team.

“You need to understand the situation, be patient and bide your time, which is what I did. I waited my turn and got back into the side when the manager decided that was the right thing to do and I feel as if I’ve done okay in the last few games.”

Town take on Burton Albion on Saturday at Portman Road and Skuse agreed it could be like so many of the clubs’ five previous clashes in the past three and a half years, when there was little to choose between them. He said: “It’s true that our games against Burton always seem to be tight affairs, whether in the Championship or League One.

“On the first day of the season we beat them 1-0 but it was very close. They are a well-drilled side and [manager] Nigel [Clough] has done a very good job in his times there. He gets them very well organised and I’m sure it will be another tough one on Saturday.

“We’re going to have to do a bit more than we did against Wimbledon on Tuesday if we’re going to break them down. There’s also talk of Storm Dennis coming in from the Atlantic and that could well play a part in the game. We could well have to battle the elements as well as Burton’s tactical side of things.

“You have to take that into account but maybe not so much in our stadium with its big stands. It tends to happen when you play at smaller grounds, where the wind can break in from the sides and play a huge part. Or a three-sided stadium like Oxford’s – that was a night like I’d never experienced before.”

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cat added 17:52 - Feb 13
So it’s true then, ITFC really do reward underperforming staff with new contracts.

ITFCsince73 added 17:52 - Feb 13
271 games, 2 goals. A terrible boring stat.
Defensive midfielder or old fashioned sweeper. Diabolical return.

Carberry added 17:54 - Feb 13
Not just about running Cole, passing and scoring are also helpful indicators of how much you contribute.

BettyBlue added 17:56 - Feb 13
Please God NO

The team put out against Wimbledon is too old. 3 players over 30, 8 players over 25, average age of 27+ even with 2x 21 yr olds in the team.
Peterborough have 10 players 23/24 yrs old.
We can't afford to carry old men like Chambers Skuse Wilson Norwood Judge or past it players like Doncien and Huws.
League One is physical and youth and fitness and energy will overcome Dads Army every time.
How has Lambert been allowed to put together a side of old past it players? We need to get a team of under 25's not over 35's.

ArnieM added 18:00 - Feb 13
I think some fans need to stop this ridiculous witch hunt for our two most loyal and contributing senior players. If their physical stats are up to scratch then the6 should still be in the squad. Naturally they will play less and less of a role going forwards. But some of the vitriol directed at them on social media is a bloody disgrace and “ only Ipswich fans” would do this it seems.

Consider the younger , perpetually injured players that have offered next to nothing to this Club and yet take considerable money for doing just that, nothing!

Pecker added 18:01 - Feb 13
Time for you to go. Offer very little, so thanks Cole, but goodbye.

therein61 added 18:03 - Feb 13
It will beggar belief if this man is awarded the contract option we hold and then go onto a coaching role with his negative mind set(be great for bringing youngsters through) would be a disaster this man(along with his best mate) have cost this club so many points and as biggest earners so much money that could have been well spent elsewhere, time to go.

Mark added 18:06 - Feb 13
Skuse has been a good servant to the club, but funds will be so limited in our second season in League One. What are we going to change to turn us into a promotion winning side?

cat added 18:08 - Feb 13
Get out of your ‘ivory tower’ ArnieM. I’ve read many of your foul mouth abusive posts on many occasions. Only difference is you dish it to fellow fans not the players. Probably worse when you think about it.

Michael101 added 18:08 - Feb 13
On deep joy, that 500 less season tickets sold april.just as I was
Thinking things could not get any worse.

Umros added 18:18 - Feb 13
Loyal? Yeah I’m loyal to my employer as well, sadly I don’t get 10k a week for it!
Good that he has stuck about but money talks when no better offer available if it was I’m sure Loyal’ wouldn’t be a word used! It’s not just Cole, all footballers applied!

TimmyH added 18:29 - Feb 13
As per Chambers it seems...stuck like glue to the club, at least Cole will be able to provide the academy players (if he stays on as coaching staff) the ability to pass the ball sideways.

Personally feel Cole's time is up after this season...

positivity added 18:29 - Feb 13
bettyblue, i agree with much of what you say, but donacien & huws are not "past it", they're 26 years old! prime age for a footballer.

positivity added 18:30 - Feb 13
i hear skuse has been offered the striker's coach role...

ChrisFelix added 18:31 - Feb 13
A luxury we cant afford. Not good enough for the Championship & it seems very limited in division 3.
Our club needs to move on & get rid of skuse & Chambers. Should have taken the opportunity to offer Tommy Smith the captaincy for next season

Suffolkboy added 18:33 - Feb 13
Some dreadfully thought out comments here which bear little resemblance to intelligent understanding of team creation and management ,and total disregard for the footballing role and character which any of our squad are asked to assume , let alone this entirely trustworthy gentleman whose honesty and integrity are a shining example .
A future role for ITFC will well be justified and I Hope realised ; he’s been undervalued and under rated and appreciated for far too long !

Buryblue78 added 18:56 - Feb 13
MM bought him here as he's a great "anti-footballer"
By that I mean breaking up opposition attacks
He's offered little or nothing to us going forwards to be honest
Having said that his injury record and commitment to passing sideways
are top notch

bazgammon added 18:56 - Feb 13
Like Calamity vastly overrated individual who has had a freepass in the team too long and its not coincidence that they have been ever presents more or less in our decline over the last few seasons. Where have all the bids been from top clubs for these two during that time if they were so marvellous and essential. I seriously think they made wielded some kind of 'player power' in the changing rooms as last three managers had them in the team as first names down with Bart. I'm sick of reading about all the stuff Skuse does off the ball, running, tackling blah, blah and his abysmal goal record being defended. Warky was a 'defensive' midfielder and I forget how many times he was our top scorer. The sooner deadwood like him and Chambers go the better but I'm afraid it will take a new manager to initiate that because while PR Paul stays at the helm they will still be in the team.

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 19:12 - Feb 13
Sorry, Suffolk boy. That was meant to be a plus. Keys too bloody close together.

runningout added 19:19 - Feb 13
Part of coaching staff maybe.. as I think his playing days are limited. If he does become coach I hope he has a more attacking mindset to his own play. He reminds me of myself, when I didn’t realise when age caught up and I was using energy economically.

TR11BLU added 19:34 - Feb 13
We need to move on and shake off these serial losers.
Been a great servant but offers nothing in an attacking sense and time to put him out to grass.

afcfee added 19:36 - Feb 13
This is an actual outrage he has been awful after a decent start flopped majorly. He should be offered a non playing job now or if he feels he can continue to play thank you for services and wave bye bye. Instead we get the guilt trip about his kids being settled! Sorry but my kids are growing up seeing utter rubbish on the pitch and seeing it get rewarded with new contracts. Chambers new deal was bad, then Lambert was like omg this is the icing on the cake.

afcfee added 19:37 - Feb 13
He shouldn't of been given the contract when MM left, that was his final parting gift to us, bet he's laughing about it now.

IPSWICHMOUSE added 19:41 - Feb 13
Never have rated Skuse to be honest..another lightweight who seems to keep under the radar.....Settled in Ipswich.....however Colchester is just down the road m8...........Finish your career there..........

ColchesterBlue1985 added 20:00 - Feb 13
Building our team around a pair of 34 year olds who have overseen our darkest period and way past their best, only Ipswich!!!

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