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Woolfenden: I Think I’ve Had a Completely Average Season
Friday, 16th Apr 2021 14:21

As someone born in the Town and who used to attend Portman Road as a spectator, defender Luke Woolfenden feels the supporters’ pain as much anyone as they look for answers to the club’s recent slump in form.

Academy graduate Woolfenden will be hoping to retain his first-team place at Charlton tomorrow, although he will know not to take anything for granted after the 3-0 midweek loss at Wimbledon left manager Paul Cook scratching his head in disbelief and promising changes to his starting line-up at the Valley.

Woolfenden believes supporters are well within their rights to voice their frustration as the grim prospect of a third season on the trot in League One is creeping closer to reality with every game, the Blues taking a mere 10 points from the 30 up for grabs in the 10 games since Cook took charge.

The former East Bergholt High School pupil, who joined the Portman Road academy when he was 11, said: “To be fair I think the fans have every right. As I’ve said before it has been ages since they have had anything to shout about.

“The last time was in 2015 when Mick [McCarthy] got us into the play-offs. The fans are not battering us just for the sake of it. We’ve not performed and we all know that.

“We were relegated two seasons ago and we shouldn’t be in this league but we should be able to deal with the pressure. It’s a big club but ultimately, if you can’t deal with it, as the manager says there are going to be a lot of changes.

“It would be deeply disappointing for everyone if we are back in League One again next season. But look, there are six games left and we’ve just got to try our bollocks off in every single one of them. Realistically, I think we need to win them all to have any chance of getting into the play-offs.”

Woolfenden is not one of the many players whose contracts are due to expire at the end of the current campaign, with manager Cook having probably already made up his mind about who stays and who goes, information that is likely to emerge over the final weeks of the season.

But he knows the fact that his deal has another year to run is no guarantee of his long-term future being at the club he has loved for most of his life. Should the manager opt to place him on the transfer list, for example, there is nothing he could do about it.

“That’s a side of football where you never know what might happen,” he admitted. “Job security isn’t really something in football for a lot of players but I’m confident in my ability.

“Whether it’s going to be here, or whether I get moved on, as long as I’m enjoying my football is the most important thing for me.”

Asked if the fact that so many players are coming to the end of their deals could create an insecurity that could in turn impact on their performances, Woolfenden responded: “There are a lot of players coming to the end of their contracts and that’s always been the way the club has done it, certainly since I’ve been here.

“There have always been players coming to the end of their contracts and that can cause uncertainty. But that can work both ways.

“Sometimes it can affect you and other times it can make you want to roll up your sleeves and prove to them that you should have had a contract offer earlier.”

Woolfenden is back in the side after a spell on the sidelines during the latter stages of former manager Paul Lambert’s tenure, the goalless draw at home to relegation-threatened Northampton in February seeing him dropped for several weeks and sitting out nine games, five of them after Cook took charge.

Reflecting on how he fell off the first team radar under Lambert, Woolfenden added: “It wasn’t something that we ever really spoke about. You know, in football sometimes things happen and there’s no explanation as to why or how they happen.

“The Northampton game was disappointing for everyone but from a defensive point of view we kept a clean sheet and I wasn’t seen again for a while. Football’s like that, you know, and sometimes you don’t have control over what you can change and what you can’t.”

In Lambert’s eyes Woolfenden was once described as a potential £10 million player destined to play in the Premier League, although the manager also famously highlighted the defender’s laid-back approach by suggesting there were times when he and his staff had to check for a pulse.

Asked about his relationship with Lambert, the player said: “In his first season at the club we didn’t really have many conversations. It was strictly professional and I was working for him, but if he didn’t want to play me he didn’t want to play me.

“It’s about the squad rather than individuals and I’m sure he was just doing what he felt was best for the team. I’m fine with that.”

Turning to his form this season, Woolfenden confessed: “I think I’ve had a completely average season. I had a very good season last year but I haven’t lived up to the standards I set then. I’ve just been completely average and that’s not good enough for this club.

“Hopefully, now that I’m back in the team, I can start enjoying football again. It’s when you are enjoying it that you play your best football and that’s what I am looking forward to getting back to.

“Since the new manager came in we’ve had a few chats. His future plans will be based on what you are doing out on the pitch.

“If you are training and playing well, you will continue to be an Ipswich player, but if not you won’t be.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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MrTown added 14:29 - Apr 16
Average is generous.

Jugsy added 14:34 - Apr 16
Appreciate the honest and open view from the lad. Bags of potential which I'm sure PC can help him unlock. Let's not knock him coming out and talking to us.

PositivelyPortman added 14:39 - Apr 16
Let’s see some effort tomorrow then Lukey boy - that’s if you’ve not been shown the door.
Leave your alice band at home.

spanishblue added 14:43 - Apr 16
Me T spot on, if he stays, and judged on his performances from my view having watched all the games apart from 3 ( bad reception)I won’t lose sleep you’ve got a lot of work to do sunshine, so here’s hoping you liven up and produce a 100% improvement next season, otherwise the door beckons

spanishblue added 14:43 - Apr 16
Me T spot on, if he stays, and judged on his performances from my view having watched all the games apart from 3 ( bad reception)I won’t lose sleep you’ve got a lot of work to do sunshine, so here’s hoping you liven up and produce a 100% improvement next season, otherwise the door beckons

ringwoodblue added 14:49 - Apr 16
Luke may be a player that feeds off the confidence of others and there’s been no one to inspire him this year. Would like to see him stay and fulfill his potential at the club

arc added 15:12 - Apr 16
He really didn't like Lambert, did he?

pennblue added 15:19 - Apr 16
Once we have processed data on any new player our first interview question should be "What is your goal as a footballer", if it is not to play in the World Cup/represent your country and play in the Premier League, then we need to move them on.

We need a team of winners.

IpswichToon added 15:40 - Apr 16
In fairness we expected a lot from a lad that only had his breakthrough season in just the previous campaign. There’s a great talent there to be unlocked, and I think it would be criminal to ignore that.

Linkboy13 added 16:05 - Apr 16
The only good thing about Wolfenden having a disappointing season, might deter other clubs from buying him. We need to get a centre half beside him with a big physical presence, preferably in the De vos or Mowbray mould with experience and he will blossom.

therein61 added 16:29 - Apr 16
He will in the future become a good player and worth keeping, he was messed about by Lambert as he was the fall guy if we had a fit right back then you know who had to move to the centre as Lambert didn't have the power to leave him out(Cook will not take that crap) when Cook has everything in place Wolfie will come good get Butch working with him.

istanblue added 16:35 - Apr 16
I'd say poor but there ya go.

Karlosfandangal added 17:40 - Apr 16

Short term maybe Wilson would help. Wilson has had a good season when he started but not good enough for Championship.

RobsonWark added 18:09 - Apr 16
Woolfenden: "I Think I’ve Had a Completely Average Season"

Another ITFC player who thinks a lot of himself. Below average I'd say - and that's being kind! You can't cut it in the third tier of English football against VERY poor teams. Time to pack your bags and move on!

happybeingblue added 18:10 - Apr 16
better to keep the hairband on than to keep re-arranging your hair during the game like luke hyam used to...how can you be fully focused if you need to fiddle with your barnet all the time. below average season for me,did his head get turned by said sheff utd interest? as he probably thought im out of here soon bit like downes with palace...lost focus both of them i think hence form dropped with both of them ...disapointing for all itfc fans as feel they both are good prospects along with andre as well, with hopefully better coaching we will see the improvement next season

ImAbeliever added 18:31 - Apr 16
Young enough and good enough to get past this season, hopefully with us.

BcarefulwhatUWish4 added 19:20 - Apr 16
Think he deserves a chance to stay and develop as a player. His heart is with Town (as a supporter), which is always a good thing. His performances haven't been good this season and he certainly shouldn't be first choice at the moment (back up and learning from more experienced players would be best).

Cloddyseedbed added 19:32 - Apr 16
Average, you've been crap.

JewellintheTown added 19:50 - Apr 16
"there are six games left and we’ve just got to try our b*llocks off in every single one of them."

Problem is, few in this team have any yet somehow some players are full of it.

billys_boots added 20:04 - Apr 16
As someone who’s sat in the ground as a spectator. he must have some idea of where the goal posts are. Perhaps he can point them out to the others.

Chris_Knights added 20:30 - Apr 16
Luke Woolfenden .... Average ?..... nah you’ve been C..p .... potential ? Your 22 mate .... how long do you want ? ..... step up next season or sod off

BlueBlood90 added 21:00 - Apr 16
If he really loves this club as much as it’s stated in the article then why was he liking tweets about Norwich being 7-0 up the other week?

shakytown added 21:01 - Apr 16
Ipswichtoon. There in lies one one the great problems with Ipswich a lot of people over rate the players from our academy. if at 22 this so called great talent cannot make an impression in league one what can he do ????? How many of our younger players go out on loan to lower league teams and barely even get a game???? is something is rotten at the academy as well or is it just the lazy arrogance that permeates the senior players had spread everywhere????

Michael101 added 21:19 - Apr 16
Average?? Don't think anybody has been that good this season.

ArnieM added 21:32 - Apr 16
I’ll be honest with you all now, I’m not actually sure young Woolfie is a top drawer player going forwards. Yes he’s comfortable on the ball , but I see too many mistakes in him. Time will tell I guess.....

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