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Woolfenden: I May Be Laid-Back But I'm Still Passionate
Friday, 30th Oct 2020 11:32

Town boss Paul Lambert may have felt Luke Woolfenden needed “a kick up the backside” but the defender is keen to stress he is every bit as passionate as any of his Portman Road colleagues.

Ipswich-born Woolfenden, who was 22 earlier this month, is known for what some might see as a rather carefree attitude, Lambert even joking last year that on occasions he “looked for a pulse” from the player during a training session.

But he believes his relaxed demeanour often disguises his true enthusiasm for the game and his love for his hometown club.

“Asked if he felt a bit of complacency might have crept in to his approach, Woolfenden responded: “I think you can see the desire and positivity when I’m playing. I’m always losing my head and shouting at people.

“In training and when we play small-sided games I am a bit laid-back but I don’t think it takes away from my passion for the game.”

Woolfenden made his first league appearance in Tuesday’s narrow 1-0 win over Gillingham at Portman Road and admitted: “It was amazing to be back out there playing again. Everyone wants to play and when you’re not you get a bit frustrated, so it was great to be involved again and keeping a clean sheet was a bonus.”

How frustrating was it? He added: “The gaffer made it clear at the start of the season that if you were in the team the shirt was yours to lose and unfortunately I wasn’t in the side because of injury.

“I couldn’t really complain with the way the boys were playing and the results they achieved. It was frustrating but it was just one of those things you have to deal with.

“I didn’t go to see the manager and speak to him about it. He had made it clear to everyone at the start of the season about what was happening and said that if you were in the team it was up to you to hold on to your place.

“I don’t think he would have appreciated me going in to see him and asking why I wasn’t playing, not when the team was winning without me.

“We had a long, long time off and when we reported back for pre-season training it did take me a while to get back into it. It was the same with everyone but maybe he felt he had to say that to me because of the way I am with my laid-back attitude.

“I don’t really think I am any more laid-back than anyone else but maybe it was because it was me and he wanted to make sure I was 100 per cent focused.

“I’m in the side now so the ball’s in my court and I guess that’s how every player would want it.

“If you’re playing well there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be in the side, although I think it does add a bit of pressure if you’ve come into the side after a while out.

“But as a footballer there is always pressure, especially when you’re at a club like Ipswich and we’re in a league where we don’t think we should be. There’s pressure every week because we want to win every week and we want to go up. It’s up to us all to deal with it.”

Having lost their previous two games, Teddy Bishop’s late winner in midweek took Town back to third in the League One table and they will hoping for another three points tomorrow when newly-promoted Crewe Alexandra are the visitors to Portman Road.

As has become the norm during the global coronavirus pandemic, no spectators will be present, and Woolfenden continued: “Without a crowd I think there is a bit less pressure to be fair.

“The way we are playing now is more patient but on Tuesday we were still 0-0 after 85 minutes and if the fans had been there, especially after we had lost at both Doncaster and Lincoln, they might have been thinking ‘Here we go again, struggling to beat Gillingham’.

“I think it allowed us to settle and we knew what we were doing by being patient. On the flip side, though, if the fans had been present when we scored the late winner it would have been an unreal feeling.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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Mullet added 11:45 - Oct 30
This is not a dig at the media, but why is this an issue? Seems such a backward attitude to worry about whether a player look the part or not. Why Lambert feels the need to feed this line of criticism out like this is beyond me.

Really high quality players make it look easy, just running around and having veins popping isn't the be all and end all. I'd rather see Woolfenden playing and able to show how good he is.

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