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 . 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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