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Lambert: Totally Wrong That the Three Kids Had Made Fewer Than 100 League Starts
Friday, 6th Nov 2020 13:30

Blues manager Paul Lambert says the lack of league starts made by young midfield trio Andre Dozzell, Teddy Bishop and Jack Lankester illustrates something which has been wrong at Town.

The three, aged, 21, 24 and 20 respectively, started Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat at Sunderland, taking their combined total of league starts beyond 100, to 102. Dozzell has made 36 of that total, Bishop 58 and Lankester eight.

While all three have suffered with injuries, Dozzell in particular had been given the odd game here and there up until this season without ever being given a run in the side.

“The scary thing is, and this is how far the club had gone back, those three kids had not made a 100 league starts [before Tuesday],” Lambert said.

“You tell me if that’s right or wrong. Those kids hadn’t made 100 league starts matched up together. That’s incredible.

“I think Grant Leadbitter had probably got about 600 or whatever he’s got [403]. So when you look at that, their midfield on Tuesday compared to ours, one’s just come back from a broken back twice and two of them haven’t played five or six games in a row. Teddy Bishop has never played three or four games in a row, that’s not normal.

“And that’s why I gave them the biggest compliment on the way they played because they were excellent.

“But if you’ve not played 100 games and sustained game after game after game, there’s been something wrong. Without a doubt there’s been something totally wrong.”

Lambert says he has confidence in the trio: “I’ll always give them that, that’s for sure. It’s my choice to play them, it’s my choice to get them to play the way they’re playing, to try and change them, to try and make them better players, that’s my choice.

“And the way they’re playing, the football they’re playing is really, really good. I love watching them play like that, it’s great to watch it.

“We mightn’t always get results, and we’ve had major decisions go against us in two recent games, but football-wise we’ve dominated the games.”

Having gone 19 months without a senior game, Lankester made a few sub appearances and then a return to the XI in the Papa John’s Trophy tie against Gillingham earlier in the season.

The last fortnight has seen the academy product start three of the last four league games and he scored his first senior goal since January 2019 - the second of his career - on Tuesday.

“He's done great,” Lambert said when asked about the Bury St Edmunds-based youngster’s form since coming into the team.

“We've just got to watch him and don't put too much pressure on him with playing game after game after game because of the injury he had – two stress fractures in his back.

“He's been out a helluva long time as well, so we can get away with Jack playing a game here and there and one or two games in a row, but we've just got to be really careful with him.

“But talent-wise, he’s a terrific talent, a terrific footballer, has a good idea of the game. Has he a lot to learn? Yeah, a massive lot to learn, but he is a talented footballer.

“He should have scored two [on Tuesday]. He should have the second one as well, he should have scored that, but I'm happy with how he's coming back but there's not too much pressure.”

Lambert says Lankester coped well with the long spell on the sidelines: “He's been good. What I know of him, he seems a humble kid, which I think is important.

“I'm happy with how he plays the game. He's always got a threat with that left foot of his. He takes a risk with passes, he's a bit like Dozzell that way, they take risks which is great.

“And you look at the three of them the other night. Bishop I thought was brilliant, for a lad that's not played, my God, many games in a row, and Dozzell coming back in. I was really happy with all the guys on Tuesday night. But Jack is certainly getting better.”

Photos: Matchday Images

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Cakeman added 14:50 - Nov 6
Well said Mr Lambert. Those three players are our future and as long as we continue to play them and not sell them then I think the future could be bright. There will always be doubts about fitness and potential injuries but we must continue to play them as first choices. We cannot wrap them up in cotton wool.

Lord_Mac added 15:02 - Nov 6
About time. Sending our academy products out on loan and then selling them off cheap, while importing a bunch of ageing journeymen has been at the root of our progressive decline. Supporters are much more accepting of average resuts if they involve our home-grown talent. It's the right business model for a club like ours - we can develop youngsters and sell them on for megabucks at the right time (Cresswell, Mings etc). Yet we exported Jordan Rhodes and Kieffer Moore on the cheap when we could have held onto them and made far more money.

What's the point of running a good academy if we don't use it? I may not agree with everyting Lambert does, but he's spot on with this. If we can just sort out our sports science problem (consistently far too many injuries) and make ourselves a bit harder to play against, we might actually get somewhere.

Pencilpete added 15:03 - Nov 6
This is exactly the point i've been making. Yes we will lose games but losing them whilst these young guys are getting experience is OK for me, losing with Skuse ETC in the team isn't. If you look at Woolfenden, Ndaba, Dobra, El Mizouni, Bishop, Dozzell, Lankester, Drinan we have a team that could be frighteningly good but like the previous poster said it's important not to cash in on them and let them develop and mature here so we reap the benefits of them

ArnieM added 15:15 - Nov 6
AT LAST !!!!

Len_Brennan added 15:25 - Nov 6
But if we don't go up this year, we'll end up losing them all in the summer.
They are smashing footballers, as is Woolfenden & as is Downes; all should be regarded as first team regulars, when fit. Playing easy on the eye, passing football, retaining possession is great, but unless we start becoming a bit more urgent in attack & in creation of scoring chances (& taking them), it will all be for nothing.

MonkeyAlan added 15:44 - Nov 6
You can't play them if they are always injured, which has been the case with all 3.

tractorboy1978 added 15:58 - Nov 6
Yet he will simultaneously say that the club doesn't have a disproportionate problem with injuries

tractorboy12341234 added 16:33 - Nov 6
thats funny we've been saying that about mr dobra as well

Carberry added 16:34 - Nov 6
I don't recall PR Paul playing them when they were available at the beginning of his tenure. It's just expediency that sees them playing but of course he has to big himself up as if everything that's gone before was wrong. Don't know if you noticed Paul but we're in League 1, that happened after you joined.

BettyBlue added 17:09 - Nov 6
its been your call along. Big squad, rotation evry game, no wonder players only play 20-30 games a season + mutiple injurie,s a highlight of any town season.

ringwoodblue added 17:26 - Nov 6
If Skuse had been fit and Downes had not had his head turned by Palace, I doubt Doz and Bish would’ve played that many games so he’s played them out of necessity rather than choice IMHO.

We’ll see what happens when both of the aforementioned players are fit again.

Also think Lambert will always pick Judge or Edwards (playing out of position) over Lankester.


positivity added 18:21 - Nov 6
don't think you can blame hurst or mccarthy for not playing lankester more, maybe more so on the other 2

dieselmorris added 18:36 - Nov 6
and what is the reason we have no experienced midfielders, perhaps it is because our esteemed owner does not put any real money into the first team squad for years and gradually the calibre of player has become diluted, and we just get dross that no one else wants.

Linkboy13 added 19:09 - Nov 6
Absolutely nothing wrong with players going out on loan, this is the reason why Downes and Wolfenden progressed so much more quickly than other players at the club, rather than sit on their arses on the bench.

gosblue added 07:28 - Nov 7
I remember one of Paul Hurst’s opening press conferences included something like - ‘I’ve heard there is a lot of young talent at Ipswich, I’ve yet to see it’. For me, as soon as he said that he had to go. Playing the youngsters this season must have saved us a fortune in fees and wages. One area I’d like to see us develop our home grown talent is between the sticks.

Pilgrimblue added 08:22 - Nov 7
I'm not sure what he's saying! All three have had long term injuries so needed to be introduced slowly in order to build up strength and confidence.
In the past Bish was breaking down regularly, Dozzy needed more time and Lankaster hasn't been available until now.
Thankfully PL has been forced to pick them and they've taken their chances. Downes will be a plus unless of course he moves on but Skuse ha shad his day and i don't see him playing much again for us.

HARRY10 added 09:06 - Nov 7
We are in LI, and yet we struggle to get more than a few youngsters able to make the step up. Certainly not any keeper.

Maybe some are deluding themselves about the academy.

A club who once prided itself on reducing players good enough for the top flight now struggles with L1

IpswichT62OldBoy added 10:59 - Nov 7
It's true that injuries have limited these lads playing time, however every season that passes they get older and stronger.
Until this season Skuse occupied a place in midfield so opportunities were limited.
More importantly it seems to be further evidence that we are going to be growing and keeping our own talent, something PL talked about a lot last season.
It makes me feel more positive, you can't turn something around overnight, maybe three years to recover and redirect ourselves is a reasonable time frame.
This is the first time I can remember in years that despite loosing the match I felt positive.
Last season we were winning games by the skin off our teeth, and yes, three points is three points but I felt disappointed and worried about the performances.
I may be deluded but this season does feel different

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