Lambert: McGuinness Signing Doesn't Signal Woolfenden Exit
Friday, 25th Sep 2020 10:24
Boss Paul Lambert has dismissed suggestions that the loan signing of Arsenal youngster Mark McGuinness means Luke Woolfenden is on his way out of Portman Road.
Ever since Republic of Ireland U19 international McGuinness joined on loan for the season from the Gunners on Tuesday, there has been speculation that the 19-year-old was recruited ahead of a Woolfenden exit.
“Not at all,” Lambert said when this claim was put to him. “You guys won't help that obviously because you’ll want to put it out there as well! So, Woolfenden [leaving] no.
“Woolfenden was injured, and that’s why we had to bring Mark in as well. Toto [Nsiala] and James Wilson are playing brilliantly for us but the competition to stay in the team is massive.
“You have to play well to stay in the team rather than set in stone. Woolfenden will have a fight on his hands to get in, everybody will have a fight to get in the team, but I’d rather have that than everyone being complacent.”
Lambert says McGuinness has settled in well this week: “He’s been very good. I’m really pleased with him. I think it’s there for everybody to see how good he could be.
“I think he’s got everything going for him, he’s come here out of the environment at Arsenal where the facilities are top class, they’ll get looked after really well up there.
“This is his first loan, and I think he’s looking forward to it, but you can tell he’s going to be a good one, that’s for sure.”
Lambert says McGuinness had been in his thoughts for a little while before he impressed in the EFL Trophy tie between the Blues and Arsenal’s U21s a fortnight ago.
“About a couple of weeks before that game he came onto our radar and I knew there was an opportunity to have a look at him then,” he said.
“As I said before, I thought he was outstanding against us that night, and for somebody so young the leadership he showed with them I thought was very, very impressive.”
Asked whether there is any pressure from Arsenal for McGuinness to play a minimum number of games, he added: “No, Arsenal have been good. I think that’s really good form Arsenal’s point of view.
“There’s not really such a thing as a bad loan because you learn good and bad things when you go away, and it makes you grow up quicker.
“It takes you out of your comfort zone from where you are, especially if it’s a Premier League young player, it takes him out of those home comforts.
“I’ve been really impressed with how he’s come over and handled himself, so he’s definitely a good player.”
He says there’s nothing in the deal which means the Blues will be fined by the Gunners if he doesn’t play: “No, there’s nothing really like that.”
Might he be able to fill in at full-back if required? “Looking at him and the way he plays, maybe. He's come as a centre-half and I just think with the way he plays and how good he is on the ball he would adapt to a lot of roles.”
Lambert, who has previously said he might look at adding a winger to his squad, says there could still be further additions before the transfer window closes.
“As I said before, if we could bring somebody in and somebody does pop up, and it can happen, and the finances were OK, then it's something I would look at.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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