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Downes: It Was Never the Case That I Refused to Play
Friday, 29th Jan 2021 10:49

Town midfielder Flynn Downes has denied rumours that he refused to play for the club last year when Crystal Palace tried to sign him.

The Eagles had two bids rejected and Downes responded by requesting a transfer, which the club were quick to turn down.

When manager Paul Lambert said he was not being considered for selection “for the time being” some supporters suggested the player had refused to play for the club.

But today, when asked if Palace were still keen to sign him, the England U20 cap said: “I don’t know, I haven’t a clue about that.”

Downes admitted he wanted to make the move, adding: “Well, they’re a Premier League team, so who wouldn’t?”

But he insisted he had no regrets about the episode that played out on the eve of the new season. He continued: “Do you know what, I don’t have any regrets? I think that if you live your life you can’t have any regrets. It is what it is.

“I love this club but a massive opportunity was offered to me and ever since I was a little kid I’d said I wanted to play in the Premier League. But it’s in the past now and I’m fully focused on Ipswich, that’s it.”

Downes, who was fully fit but absent from Town’s first three games of the current campaign, was also asked how much the situation affected him. He responded: “Mentally, it was something new to me. I’d never experienced anything like that before and it was tough, very tough. It was all new to me but I feel better for it now, definitely.

“It was never the case that I refused to play. I simply didn’t feel well enough to play. I know it sounds weird but that’s just how it was. I didn’t feel confident to go out there.

“It was a weird scenario. I didn’t feel like I was mentally right so I knew I couldn’t give 100 per cent for the boys. That’s how I felt.

“Every kid – and it’s every kid, I’m sure – wants to play at the top, so when the opportunity came about I felt I had to do everything I could to try to take it. I’m ready to play at that level, 100 per cent.”

Asked if he thought he would be playing in League One next season, Downes said: “Who knows? It was very flattering and definitely a massive confidence booster. But it’s in the past now and I just want to focus on Ipswich and getting us promoted to be honest.”

Downes returned to action off the bench in the Papa John’s Trophy home clash with Fulham and then featured as a substitute in the three league games against Bristol Rovers, Rochdale and MK Dons, where he sustained a knee injury that was to sideline him for over three months.

He made his comeback as a half-time replacement for Emyr Huws in the 3-2 home defeat by Swindon and since then has started – and finished – the win at Burton and the home defeats by fellow promotion hopefuls Peterborough and Sunderland.

“It’s lovely to be back and I’ve missed it so much. Honestly, I can’t put it into words,” he admitted.

“The whole lockdown thing hasn’t helped because you’re literally just sitting there doing nothing. It’s just so good to be back. It has been a long three months but hopefully it doesn’t happen again. It was no fun being out and I can’t watch – literally I can’t.”

Downes is delighted to have completed the full 90 minutes in three games in quick succession and added: “With an injury like mine, when you come back you are still getting pains in the knee. When I played the first 45 minutes it was a big achievement because I had only trained two or three times before that.

“That was a big positive but to be getting through 90 minutes recently has been unbelievable. With every 90 minutes I can feel I’m getting better and closer to my best so hopefully that can continue.

“When you’ve been out for any length of time it always plays on your mind but I literally don’t think about it at all now.

“I remember it happening and I knew it was a bad one. I tried to get up – I don’t tend to stay down – and my leg was literally shaking so I knew it was game over for me.

“But I’m back now and I feel that with every game I play I’m getting better. I’m getting my confidence back but it does take time.

“My first full start was at Burton and to be honest I felt way off it. My legs were so heavy but the other day against Sunderland I felt really good. So it’s just about playing and I hope it’s not long before I’m back to my very best.

“We all need to be back at our best for the second half of the season. I’m trying really hard. I’m working hard in training so hopefully it comes back asap.

“We are underachieving, no doubt about that. It’s not down to one person, it’s down to everyone at the club, but we’re trying to put it right and hopefully that will start at Crewe tomorrow.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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dirtydingusmagee added 11:02 - Jan 29
move on,

Sindre94 added 11:03 - Jan 29
He will be gone in the summer. Bring in a new manager now so maybe that changes.

johnwarksshorts added 11:05 - Jan 29
Honest assessment. You cant blame him for wanting to play in the Premiership. Just hope his now fully focused on ITFC.

CokeIsKey added 11:19 - Jan 29
So Downes trained twice after his injury and Lambert made him start against Burton? No wonder so many of our players don’t fully recover from injuries.

blues1 added 11:21 - Jan 29
Sorry, but it makes me laugh when players such as downes talk about how they couldnt turn dow the chance to play premier league football. Does he really believe hed have got into the 1st team there with all the other central midfielders they have there already? Yes of course hed be earning more money, which let's face it, is the real reason he wanted to go. Sure deep down he knew he wouldnt play much, if at all. And probably end up like all the other youngsters whove moved on, and disappear off the radar completely. Just think that young players would be better off to stay put fora few years, as if they're good enough, they'll get their big move soon enough. And that's nit just at our club, but youngsters at all clubs. They just seem too keen to chase the money nowadays rather than actually playing. Tho I understand it, it's a bit sad really.

DifferentGravy added 11:37 - Jan 29
Whatever the motive, some are overly keen to reach the premiership......but unless theyve had good grounding or counsel.......youngsters are bound to be impatient and ambitious.

Dont have a problem with Downes, he didnt throw his toys out the pram. Lad is one of our better players and covers a tremendous amount of pitch. Would like to see him in a 4-4-2 as the holding midfielder or as 1 of 2 interchangeable central midfielders.......but then theres Lambert

ArnieM added 12:16 - Jan 29
Chasing the ££££££ Downes , like so many before you . Cheerio 👋

MonkeyAlan added 12:31 - Jan 29
Another one who isn't as good as he thinks. Evans you muppet.

timkatieadamitfc added 13:02 - Jan 29
I can see all points of above posters but which person REGARDLESS of occupation would not move if they were offered 10/20 times more wages, I bet there’s not many so as sad as it for ITFC I can’t knock him for wanting move.

Lambert out

NorthLondonBlue2 added 13:05 - Jan 29
It's really unfair to say to a young, promising footballer that he was only interested in the money at Crystal Palace. The Premier League is world-renowned, with the best footballers on the planet. Money is an attraction, for sure, but anyone dedicated enough to put themselves through the rigours of becoming a professional footballer wants to compete at the highest level.

It's as daft as criticising a player for wanting to move to a team because they win games.

And in any case, I'm not sure anyone at Ipswich has quite appreciated the gravity of the ongoing death spiral of this club. Who wouldn't want to move on in his shoes?

jdtractor96 added 13:23 - Jan 29
I don’t think he’s too far from being lower end premier league quality in fairness. Our best player by far - different class.

JohnWarksTash added 13:23 - Jan 29
All of you slating Downes for having his head turned by the possibility of playing for Palace need to take a look at themselves. I enjoy my work and love my colleagues but if I was offered a huge pay rise and the opportunity to work with far better managers, facilities and opportunities then I would run like the wind! Anyone who says they wouldn't are either daft or totally lacking in ambition. I would rather have an ambitious hungry workforce than an unmotivated one.

aas1010 added 13:33 - Jan 29
Bored off these stupid story’s .. only one I wanna see is lambert sacked !

BlueMachines added 13:39 - Jan 29
Crazy how footballers can’t run as hard or kick a ball with the same level of skill because ‘their head isn’t right’ when a move is speculated on.


BlueandTruesince82 added 13:41 - Jan 29
Sold at the end of the season then

BettyBlue added 13:41 - Jan 29
No-one will buy him now.

What has he done this season except throw his toys out of the pram?

SpiritOfJohn added 14:25 - Jan 29
A fit Downes is probably our best asset, but would he get a game in the Premier League? Highly unlikely. As others have said, we can switch to 4-4-2 with Downes in the middle as he can do the hard yards, but will Lambert swallow his pride and play 2 up front?

SouperJim added 14:36 - Jan 29
Jesus, some of the comments on this one are embarrassing.

Would you be loyal to your employer if someone offered to put a zero on the end of your salary to do the same job?

It's part and parcel of the game and has been for decades now. As for suggesting that it's not acceptable to not be mentally right to play under those circumstances, I think you need to move with the times and improve your understanding of mental health.

Whether us fans like it or not, Flynn Downes has outgrown ITFC. Best of luck to him. Most of us are sick of this football club too, we're just stuck with it.

bluechelmsford9 added 14:41 - Jan 29
Downes was completely justified to put in a transfer request. As a fan, if I was playing for Ipswich and Palace came in for me I would have done the same. Football is a short career and those opportunities don't come around often. Yes, Downes wouldn't have walked straight into the Palace side - he would have probably been loaned out by Palace (possibly back to Ipswich but more likely a Championship side) - but you can't blame the lad for wanting a pay-rise and a premier league club on his CV.

grow_our_own added 14:55 - Jan 29
Inept man-management by Lambert that he allowed his best player's head to drop to the extent he couldn't play for us for much of this season. Unfortunately we have a manager with less charisma than a baked potato, and so could not snap Downes out of it. Lambert OUT!

norfolkbluey added 15:44 - Jan 29
Just get back on form Downsee we want to see you at your best. This club needs your quality in midfield. Do this tomorrow and we might actually get a result which is sadly missing right now. If we beat Crewe tomorrow that will be the first win against teams above us and they seem to be increasing match by match under Lambert COYB

chepstowblue added 16:02 - Jan 29
Nowhere near good enough for the premier and would also struggle at championship level. Whilst I've never rated him as a particularly gifted footballer, due to the brittleness of our midfield his absence and his importance have been magnified. Of the 27 players available at this time time last week only about 5 of them would cause me an issue if they left the club. Not one player has performed to a level that suggests they're a 'must' selection.

JewellintheTown added 13:51 - Jan 30
Shows he has ambition. Who'd blame him if he left? We have a team full of individuals that seem to only care about themselves & their own interests. He's said his head is right & committed to Town & so I'd sooner have a hard working, focused 100% ambitious young player in the team who's learnt from this than than he leave behind the dross we've currently got. Hope his attitude rubs off on the other journeymen rejects hanging on.

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