U18s Coach Jason Leaves Blues to Watch Son Andre at QPR
Friday, 30th Jul 2021 11:16
Blues legend Jason Dozzell is leaving his role as Town's U18s coach in order to follow his son Andre's progress with QPR in the season ahead, a transfer he says was best for all parties.
The 53-year-old has coached at various levels in the Town academy in recent years and last season assisted Adem Atay with the U18s.
However, after Andre’s move to QPR earlier this summer for £1 million, Jason has decided to stand down.
“Saturdays were going to be a problem because I couldn’t commit to them,” he told TWTD. “The U18s play Saturdays and I’m going to be following Andre for most of it, especially the home games.
“Plus Andre’s gone, so it’s a little bit different for me. I’m a little bit disappointed in how it all [went], but he had to go.
“It’s been a part of my life since I was nine, I went to Wembley to watch them in the FA Cup final.
“I’ll always be an Ipswich Town fan and I’ll be going back to watch, it’s just I’m a bit sad that my boy’s not going to be there, which had to be done for both parties.”
He admits he was a torn to some degree following last season’s successful campaign with the U18s, who finished second in their league and reached the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup where they were defeated by Liverpool
“We had a great season, we got to the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup and I did really enjoy it,” he said. “With Covid, I wasn’t going in as much as I would have been, but it was a great journey for the boys and for the coaches.
“It was great for Ipswich Town as well, especially with the disappointing season, we carried a little bit of hope for the fans that we’ve got some good young players coming through.”
His involvement with the club isn’t completely ending as he’ll be doing some work with the Community Trust.
“That will be happening in the week so that doesn’t affect me too much,” he added. “That will be starting in a couple of weeks, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Reflecting on 22-year-old Andre’s Town departure last month, Jason says it was something the midfielder needed.
“One hundred per cent, and that’s no criticism of anybody,” he said. “He’s come into an Ipswich team which was on the slide from when he first got there, to the position we’re in now.
“But I do understand that they did need change. That is very important for me to say that, they did need change.
“Collectively, they just weren’t good enough. We’ve got good individuals, they’ve had good individuals, but collectively the mechanics of the side just didn’t go together in that division.
“I doubt the academy players would get you out of League One, you need a different type of player and a different type of mentality to get out of this division.
“It’s been hard. It’s been hard for me to watch what was going on down there in the last few years.
“I’ve not seen anybody thrive, I’ve just seen a lot of players going out there defeated, maybe because they were not scoring enough goals. If they went behind they knew they weren’t coming back because of the lack of goals.
“I think it was mentally a tough challenge for all of them in the last few years, and also for the fans.
“He’s not kicked on. That’s no criticism of anybody but the environment they were in, I don’t think anybody could. I think mentally going out on to that pitch for the young players was a grind.
“The academy boys are coming through, it’s not for them right at this minute, it needed a whole change because the dynamics of the team in the last few years wasn’t going to get them up. I wish them all the best and I’ll be willing them on.”
He added: “No young player was going to thrive in the environment they were in. From top to bottom it was a bit of a mess. No structure, no nothing, no identity.
“To put the pressure on the young lads, they needed help rather than the other way around.
“By that I mean good experienced players. It was a shame [Luke] Chambers and [Cole] Skuse were coming to the end of their careers. If they could have had them as they were four or five years ago when they were in their prime, they maybe could have helped the younger ones a little bit more.
“When Skuse was at his prime four or five years ago he could have helped Andre getting in. That’s the way it goes. When I got in the first team, I had lots of really good characters around me who helped me through it.
“Honestly, it was hard to watch in the last few years. He needed to get out for many reasons, being my son and everything else, he just had to go away be his own man.”
Was there extra pressure on Andre, who famously followed in his father's footsteps by scoring on his debut aged only 16, at Town because of his surname? “I think so. I think he got some unfair criticism from people, relating him to me.
“This is a kid who has been here since he was eight years old, turned down Liverpool when he was 16 or 17. Got a bad injury and then came back and it’s just not happened for one reason or another.
“So I’m disappointed, also because Ipswich could be on to something big in the next few years and he’s not going to be part of it.
“But it’s a win-win for both situations, they got a million quid or whatever for him, he can go away and strive somewhere else and I can come down here and I can enjoy my football again without that added pressure!
“I’ll always go down to the odd game here and there. I’ve been an Ipswich fan since I was nine years old. I can come down there and support the team without the added pressure of what was happening over the last few years.”
Jason says Andre has done well in pre-season with QPR so far: “He played 70 minutes against Man United [last Saturday], he looked really, really comfortable. QPR are a very exciting team and the game looked very easy.
“There were people very comfortable on the ball, knew what they were doing. It wasn’t hustle, bustle, kick from front to back, they had a style about them which you would see from the outside looking in. You could see what they were trying to do.
“They beat them 4-2, it wasn’t their strongest side, but they still had a lot of experienced players in there, [Jesse] Lingard, [Nemanja] Matic, [Juan] Mata, [Mason] Greenwood, so it was a great game to start for him.
“That was always the plan, to play against those players when he was 16. He needed to get away from Ipswich because he just wasn’t thriving, for me. He’s a certain type, I get that, I can see why people say things about him, he’s a certain type.
“He needs a game playing around him and people to trust him, not necessarily without the ball but with the ball.
“In the Man United game there weren’t many tackles going about, he had time to shine, he had time to pass. It was so different from bloody League One.”
Various ex-players and coaches have said that Andre will be a better player at a higher level and his father agrees.
“That’s it, that was always the case,” he continued. “I’ve seen it all the way through the England teams. When it was just based on possession he would be the best player on the pitch.
“The transition to League One is bloody hard because it’s just not the same football. He’s got to adapt and he’s got to learn how to play through that.”
Looking forward to the season ahead, he added: “Between QPR and Ipswich I’ll be flying about everywhere I think!
“I can go down to Ipswich and relax being an Ipswich fan, which I was before I started playing. Everyone knows I’m a huge Ipswich fan and I will be taking some of the games in.”
Photos: Matchday Images
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