Lambert: Dobra's Time Will Come Soon But Perhaps Not Until Next Season
Friday, 13th Mar 2020 10:59
Blues boss Paul Lambert believes highly-rated young forward Armando Dobra’s time will come and soon, but perhaps not until next season.
Dobra, 18, has made a big impression on what so far have been fleeting opportunities in the first team - four cup starts plus four sub appearances, three in the league - and is still to make his full league debut.
Lambert says he views the Londoner, who was called up to Albania’s U21s for the first time earlier in the week, as very much a number 10, where he has played most of his football as a youngster, rather than a winger, where he has featured on occasion for the senior side.
“Winger is a really difficult position to play because you don’t have much room to manoeuvre out there,” Lambert said.
“He’s a low centre of gravity guy and it was only a year ago that I saw him and brought him up to train with us, and I thought he was really good.
“He wasn’t frightened, he’s tenacious, he doesn’t have any respect for any big individual which is great.
“He plays the game with great freedom and his time will come, and it’ll be soon. And it’s unfair to just throw him into the lion’s den when this scenario happens, but he’s doing really, really well.”
Reflecting on Dobra’s lack of opportunities in his preferred role, Lambert says that’s largely down to the number of senior players ahead of him in that position.
“There’s a lot of guys there, and as I said he’s only been with us [the first-team squad] for over a year, 14 months or so from where he’s come from,” he added.
“It’s funny, I asked him a question the other week, I said ‘Where did you see yourself this time over a year ago?’ and he said ‘Scoring goals for the U23s’.
“So the jump is huge coming from the U23s to the first team. But because he’s escalated that quick he wants more, which I understand.
Asked about Dobra’s excellent solo goal for the U23s as they drew 1-1 with Cardiff on Monday, he added: “Without making his ego and his head go big, he’s got a real good chance.”
Dobra’s current deal is up in the summer, although with the club having an option for a further season, but, as TWTD has previously revealed, with the youngster having turned down Town’s contract offers up to now and Brighton having had a £350,000 offer rebuffed late on in the January transfer window.
Questioned on whether this concerned him, Lambert said: “I think [general manager of football operations] Lee [O’Neill] and his agents or his dad are involved in all those things so hopefully that’ll be done.”
Is next season when fans will really start to see him? “That’s what I’m hoping for, when he starts to really push.
"Even though he’s round about it now, and it’s not a thing I would disregard, not anything like that at all, he’s only a young kid, and if we’re relying on an 18-year-old to help us, it’s a big ask.
"But he’s round about it now,and I’m happy with how he’s progressing.”
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