Cook: Armin Playing Well on Debut Came as No Surprise
Friday, 17th Sep 2021 11:35
Town boss Paul Cook says it was no surprise to anyone at the club that young centre-half Albie Armin impressed in the otherwise disappointing 2-1 Papa John’s Trophy defeat to West Ham's U21s on Tuesday and while last week’s matchday 18 against Bolton included no players from the club’s academy, going forward he will look to integrate them into the squad.
Armin, 17, has been among those to catch the eye as the U23s have made a decent start to the season and was handed his senior bow against the Hammers’ youngsters.
Manager Cook says the circumstances were hardly ideal for the Colchester-based defender, who has been at the club since the U8s.
“It’s so unfair on Albie going in the team to reflect on the result and the disappointment and the doom and gloom around a game, and a game when we made 10 changes from the team on the Saturday,” he said.
“One of the big changes for us as a club is continuity and getting our best team on the pitch. It’s a massive challenge for me, it’s a massive challenge for the staff, it’s a massive challenge for the players because as we go along we’re having plenty of bumps and bruises and we show one or two signs, ie scoring goals, of having quality in the team.
“Albie coming along and playing well on Tuesday night was no surprise to anyone at the club. He’s a smashing young player who is doing really well and is progressing towards the first team.”
Asked how important it is to develop own talent, to bring players through from the U18s to the U23s to senior level, Cook said: “I think one of the big disappointments has been that when we’re so brand new, as we are, with the number of players that have come in, I think everybody included myself expected to be further ahead than we are.
“I think that’s the biggest disappointment and managing that disappointment is really tough for the players, more so than anyone, because the worst thing we’re offering up is the fact that we take the lead, we look good and then we do things that we’re doing repetitively not well.
“And they’re things that can only come with experience, with playing together, with going back into those situations.
“The reality is that getting our best team on the pitch as quickly as we can, those lads having the continuity of playing together week-in, week-out, partnerships then grow and that will see us go to a place where I believe we will go.”
Asked about there having been no academy players in the squad for Bolton, the first time that could have happened in some while, Cook said: “I think what you get again when you’re in a 46-game campaign every team will have played six games. And some supporters today will be full of optimism about what they believe can happen and some will feel a little bit down.
“Ipswich Town Football Club doesn’t want to be in League One the same as Sunderland, the same as Pompey, the same as loads of other big clubs that have found themselves here – Leeds, Leicester, Wolves and Southampton.
“There are lists of clubs that have been in League One and the brutal reality for us is we’ve played academy players, who are good players, who have been on and sold.
“This club has always produced young players, but the reality is I’m sure we will try our best to integrate young players into a team that’s also winning.
“So at the minute that culture doesn’t look there but going forward my belief is that that culture will be in everyone’s face very, very quickly. How quickly we can do that is my job.
“At that point our players will have to strive to be better than they are to break into the first team.
“Somewhere along the line, Ipswich has lost its identity a little bit with the calibre of players, if you like. I feel now that the calibre of player is within the club and my job is to make sure we turn the results around to reflect that.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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