Dozzell: I Should Be Looking to Add More Goals to My Game
Wednesday, 24th Mar 2021 11:56
When it comes to his lack of senior goals – just three from 82 appearances in all competitions so far in his career – it seems Andre Dozzell’s memory is playing tricks on him.
As most Blues fans will testify, the young midfielder’s last in the league was in the 3-2 win over Leeds United at Portman Road on the final day of the 2018/19 season and, therefore, the last time the club played a Championship game.
But when the subject of his scoring record, which the likeable 21-year-old admitted isn’t good enough in his eyes, cropped up in today’s Zoom press conference, he seemed oblivious to the fact that he had scored against Marcelo Bielsa’s team as they headed into the play-offs, where they lost to Derby at the semi-final stage.
Instead he laughed: “Yes, I think it was at Sheffield Wednesday, the last one,” a reference, in fact, to his first senior goal, which arrived on his debut in a 1-1 draw with the Owls at Hillsborough in April 2016, when he was only 16 years of age.
Incidentally, Dozzell’s only other first team goal came in the 1-1 FA Cup draw with Lincoln in November 2019, and he agrees he should be contributing more regularly.
He said: “I think anyone in midfield should be looking to add a few goals to their game, myself included, and especially now that I’m playing as one of two, whereas before I was the one and I wasn’t getting the same amount of opportunities to score, except for the odd occasion.
“Now there are two of us in midfield, one can go forward, and if I play even higher I can get more goals.
“In terms of my own personal form this season, I think I started well and then dropped off a bit. But I am definitely finding that the more games I play, the better I become and the more I can show what I can do.
“Hopefully, it will carry on until the end of the season and we can get ourselves up the table as well.
“I think there is a lot more to come from me. In this day and age stats are a big thing – like assists and goals for example – and I’m looking to keep pushing on and get the numbers up.
“The gaffer has spoken about it as well but if we haven’t created or scored enough goals it’s not just down to the forwards. The midfield players, in fact everyone, we all have a part to play.”
Asked if his passing game has to vary, depending on the role he plays in the side, Dozzell added: “Yes, it does. If I play as one of two I’m more on the left side but if I’m playing as the one I can play diagonal passes both right and left.
“If I play as the left-sided one of two, rather than risking a long diagonal pass I can give it to my other midfield player and he can go out that way.
“It is good playing alongside someone else because it allows me to get forward a bit more – I’ll go and try to create a bit more while he will sit – so it’s all good.”
Dozzell agreed he has become accustomed to being man-marked on occasions when he was playing just in front of the central defenders and was regularly looking to take the ball from him and launch attacks, quarter-back style as some observers have called the role.
He said: “That is something else we have spoken about but during the game you need to think about how you are going to deal with, and get out of, that situation.
“Whether that’s going to three at the back or creating space for the centre-halves to drive into, it’s something that you need to figure out there and then.
“The last thing I want is to be a one-trick pony, where I am just a passer of the ball. I do like driving forward with the ball now and then, trying to help the attackers create as well.”
Dozzell said he enjoys linking up with friend and colleague Flynn Downes in the engine room of the side, something the pair have done throughout the various age groups in their time together in the club academy.
Downes is currently absent with injury in what has been a stop-start season form him, while being the subject of a summer transfer window bid from Crystal Palace that failed to materialise was another distraction that saw him left out of several games by then manager Paul Lambert.
“It has been a tough season for Flynn but I know he is mentally strong,” Dozzell continued. “He is always keeping his spirits up and cheering us on. He’ll come back fitter and stronger.
“I think Flynn brings out the best in me. Obviously, he is really good off the ball and that is something I can really improve about my game. We seem to complement each other well and work well together when we’re both in the side.
“It has also been a tough time – more than a year – for Kane Vincent-Young and his injuries. But he came back as a substitute last week against Portsmouth and with 11 games still to go this season he could still be a key player for us as we look to finish strongly.”
If only Dozzell could score as often as he collects yellow cards. “It’s eight in total but I’ve not had any in my last 10 games,” he smiled, “so you could say I’ve settled down a bit in that area of my game.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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