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Wilson: Competition For Places Healthy
Sunday, 30th Aug 2020 15:24

Centre-half James Wilson says it’s healthy for the Blues to have plenty of competition at the heart of their defence, the 31-year-old having played his first game of pre-season at Cambridge United yesterday.

Wilson admits he has no idea who will line up for the Blues at the centre of the defence once the season proper gets under way with skipper Luke Chambers, Toto Nsiala, Luke Woolfenden and Corrie Ndaba his competition for what seem certain to be two places rather than the three centre-halves the Blues utilised towards the end of last season.

“I haven’t got a clue,” he said when asked who he thought might get the nod when the campaign gets under way with Bristol Rovers’ visit to Portman Road in the Carabao Cup next Saturday.

“If we all just stick with it and stick with the way of playing, then no matter who plays, we’ll be fine.

“I think when Saturday comes and in the next couple of weeks we’ll figure it out. Everyone will be rooting for everyone, that’s the main thing.”

Wilson welcomes the competition for places: “Of course, and everyone probably thinks the same, that’s good, that’s healthy to have that in the squad, I think.”

The once-capped Wales international, who joined the Blues after a trial last summer having left Lincoln, was surprised he felt as good as he did after playing his first game of pre-season as Town were defeated 1-0 at Cambridge United yesterday.

Having been out with a calf injury for two weeks, he had returned to training on Monday and played the full 90 minutes at the Abbey Stadium, the first half in his usual central defensive role before moving to right-back after the break.

“I feel good actually,” he said. “I was surprised how good I felt. I tore my calf so I had two weeks off but I felt really good.”

Reflecting on the defeat to the League Two U’s, he said: “Things didn’t really go our way, it was more us not playing great than them playing better than us but that’s something we need to work on definitely.”

However, he insists the result is nothing to get too concerned about: “Definitely not, I think we’re trying to play a certain way and it’s going to take time. I think, on the whole, we played some nice football at times, we just couldn’t really get that final pass in. Hopefully that will be better.”

Regarding the identity and style of play that manager Paul Lambert and his staff have sought to instil during pre-season, he added: “It’s really important. No matter who plays, we all need to know how we’re going to play and I think that’s especially important in a long season.

“There are going to be a lot of games coming fast, so if we know that people are coming in and out and they’re going to be playing the same way it’s easier for everyone.

“We’re going to try and pass the ball, we’ve got to keep it, we’ve got to move people around and try and be dangerous, try and put strong runners in behind. I think that’s the main thing, strong runs in behind, I think that’s the way we’re going to score goals.”

He says passing the ball out from the back suits him: “Yes, I think so. It would do anyone that wants to play football. I think it’s good for everyone.”

However, he is aware that sometimes the approach may lead to errors which can cost goals, as was the case with West Ham’s fourth in the friendly last Tuesday.

“Everyone’s going to make mistakes this season, especially playing like this,” he continued. “But I think if we get it right, you saw Coventry last season, they started off slowly but they played the same way the whole season and by the end of it they were playing really well, playing really good football. I think that’s a good model to work from.

“From the first time we played them to the last game they’d got better, so I think if you stick with a certain system it’s definitely the best way forward.”

Wilson has been joined at Portman Road by another Welshman this summer, keeper David Cornell, who he says is a familiar face.

“I know him really well,” he said. “I played with him a few times before, I played with him with Wales and I played with him at Oldham for a season, so I know Dai really well and he’s going to be great for us, I think.”

Again with Tomas Holy also vying for the goalkeeping position, he says there will be a healthy fight for the shirt: “Exactly, it’s the competition for places.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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Terry_Nutkins added 15:41 - Aug 30
I commend the way the article has been headlined. There is clearly now a fallout/agenda now being pushed at EADT which led with 'wilson doesn't have a clue who will start CB'.

It's one thing the fans having their opinions but pushing an agenda in the press particularly after the last article was shown to be a big fabrication on important facts...

Terry_Nutkins added 15:48 - Aug 30
From one or two things that seem to be leaking out from fans with contacts all does not look harmonious. I guess the EADT seem to be forcing the issue now with recent articles. If all true and we start badly it looks like the writing is in the wall.

runningout added 16:22 - Aug 30
Press and media MUST be ignored even good stuff. We are a professional football club that has a decent past that is looking so far away now. Not sure players and the people trying to run it have the same morals of Those back in the day. They maybe saying the right things, but words are very cheap when nothing changes on and off then pitch

roystevensonsrocket added 16:23 - Aug 30
The key message is we will start slowly as we will make mistakes when we pass it out from the keeper so just don’t expect us to be in the upper half of the league until at least February if at all . Equating us to Coventry is erroneous as Coventry didn’t have PL as manager or club ‘legend’at centre back who has seen better days

rugbytomc added 16:32 - Aug 30
What would be even healthier is if we had better players pushing each other for places at CB. As it is, we have Wilson, nsiala and Ndaba competing with chambers to play alongside woolfenden because chambers isn’t as good as he used to be, not because those three have improved and made chambers raise his standard to keep his place

grow_our_own added 16:32 - Aug 30
Wasn't healthy last season. There are almost certainly eleven Championship standard players in this squad of 42 (fourty two!). Problem is, the squad is so huge, they are rarely selected together. We were regularly beaten by squads of half the size in League One. Lambert has his favourites outside of this eleven and after our excellent start, his selections were by seniority, not ability. The quality players in this squad don't get the chance to gel. Clear the dross!

therein61 added 18:00 - Aug 30
I can think of one central defender who does want competition for places he has quite a few now but he will be selected every week and become increasingly dire in performance.

Bert added 18:04 - Aug 30
The opposite of hoofball, so hated by most fans, is playing out from the back. With quality players it works but it remains to be seen whether we can adapt to that style. Let’s try it again and then review.

chepstowblue added 19:03 - Aug 30
5 or 6 central defenders, none of whom that perform to a convincing enough level that nails down a place for the following game, and I include Woolfenden in that. He was very poor towards the end of last season, indescribably so at Blackpool. And please God no playing out from the back. How many pathetic goals conceded will it take for them to realise that we cant do it.....and we look incredibly stupid and totally out of our comfort zone. JUST WELLY IT and stop worrying about stats.

Cakeman added 19:51 - Aug 30
As I see it there are times in every game where ‘playing it out from the back’ can happen and also times where the ‘hoof’ should be used. It’s been said by others that we don’t have enough quality in our squad to do either effectively all of the time. We are inviting trouble to be pigeon holed into playing ‘out from the back’ because it is the coaches flavour of the month. We are not Brazil, we have no one capable of playing with that type of ability/flair.
Whoever Paul Lambert picks as a starting eleven is immaterial as Downes aside they are all of similar standard with limited ability.
A few injury niggles will no doubt hamper selection but unless we stick to a core of around fourteen/fifteen players then I’m sorry but we shall have a repeat of last seasons poor effort.
I just hope our manager picks what he believes to be the strongest eleven in all matches including the cup games. Continuity breeds success. For those players left out I’m sure the club can arrange some friendly matches to keep them match fit.

BeattiesBackPocket added 20:11 - Aug 30
All we tried to do last season well was play it from the back and as someone said that works if you have quality players like Man City but we don’t. We need a quality playmaker Or wingers to make the telling passes in the final third more. All we did was play it around at the back and across midfield with no decent final ball to the strikers and it’s been no different pres season so I can just see the same happening again until we find someone with that quality in the final third.

grow_our_own added 20:56 - Aug 30
Also Man City play on bowling-green pitches. Some League One surfaces were like Glastonbury after a monsoon (eg Tranmere). Playing out from the back on them is suicide.

KiwiBlue2 added 21:15 - Aug 30
Players have to be flexible and play to the situation. That means sometimes playing out and other times hoofing it off downfield to ease pressure. We dont want to be playing for ages passing it around just yards from the goal as sooner or later an opponent will achieve an intercept and we are in trouble. We just need to play what is in front of us. Surely our gk and backline can achieve that ..........

Linkboy13 added 21:48 - Aug 30
The competition for places would be healthy if we were playing in the Vauxhall Conference, which is where we are heading for if we keep persevering with this lot. Apart from Wolfenden, Downes and KVY you can get rid of the rest who have proved season after season they are not up to it . We have tried young managers, experienced managers it's not working. The most successful managers come from abroad this might be our best route. They can attract decent players from foreign clubs who don't cost the earth , for example Norwich and Huddersfield although this was very short lived they went from bottom of championship to the premier league.

EatonBlue added 22:45 - Aug 30
By now, with less than a week to go, most of the places in our starting line-up should have been grabbed already.

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 06:00 - Aug 31
As regards competition for places, I'm afraid it's more like can we find two out of five or six who make the least mistakes. All of them are on a similar level, and no-one really sticks out and says "play me". I'd play Woolf and N'daba as they are the only pair with a chance of getting better with more experience. The rest have reached their peak.

As regards adopting a passing style of play, that's ok up to a point. But the aim of the game is not to look good while endlessly passing the ball around midfield and then backwards. It is, in fac,t to get into the final third and create some pressure around the opponent's goal. This includes taking a shot from time to time. I just hope this is also part of the new plan.
Anyway, COYB!

KiwiBlue2 added 06:06 - Aug 31
Amen Steve ......

PortmanTerrorist added 08:34 - Aug 31
We know nothing! Keeper, CBs, Midfield, Strikers. Only KVY and Downes are nailed on to start (IF FIT) for first game based on pre-season....and am wondering if PL might pull something weird with them now too. I am the trusting type, but agree with others that if there is no cohesion, performance and results from the get-go, then this will get very ugly very quickly.

However, I do think we will thump Wigan on day 1...natch !

Skip73 added 09:13 - Aug 31
Its only healthy if the players are good enough.

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