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Woolfenden Inspired By Dozzell and Downes
Thursday, 20th Jan 2022 06:00

Town defender Luke Woolfenden makes no attempt to hide his desire to follow in the footsteps of ex-colleagues Andre Dozzell and Flynn Downes and play Championship football.

But while the midfield duo had to leave Portman Road last summer in order to step up a level, Woolfenden still clings to the hope that the Blues can still qualify for this season’s play-offs and win through to book a second tier return.

Like Dozzell and Downes, who are featuring regularly for QPR and Swansea respectively, Woolfenden graduated from the club academy and he is certain he has what it takes to perform on the very same stage.

Woolfenden said: “I feel inspired by what Andre and Flynn have done and I believe in my ability to play Championship football.

“They both had their critics when they were here. People were saying they weren’t good enough, that they weren’t improving the team when they did play and that they were only in the team because they had come through from the academy.

“Well, they’ve gone on to a higher level where they are playing regularly and proving that wasn’t the case. I think I can do that myself as well so I’m pleased for them both and it’s good to see them playing every week in the Championship. Good luck to them.”

Woolfenden is adamant that like Dozzell and Downes he can take his game to a higher level. Former boss Paul Lambert used to joke that the young defender was so laidback he had to check for a pulse – but that is purely a sign of confidence and only a small part of the player’s make-up.

“I’m very confident about being able to take my game to another level,” he explained, “and it comes to working with the new manager and his assistant, Martyn Pert, who have a different, refreshing approach to the game and how it should be played.

“The way they work is the way I see myself, as very football-based, relaxed and looking to learn – not getting all emotional and working in a way where everything has to be built around blood, sweat and fire all the time.

“There are times when you have to sit back, analyse and see and think sensibly how you can do things better.

“There are always things to be learned, especially when you can talk to people who have worked with the type of players that the manager and his assistant have worked with at Manchester United and Tottenham.

“When you ask a question you’ve got to take in the information they can provide with their answer and try to employ it in your own game.

“As a United fan it was exciting to hear who the new manager was going to be but I imagine everyone at the club was excited by the news. He has worked with some of the best players in the world, including some of the best defenders in the world, so you’d be a bit of a weirdo to not be excited by that.

“Just hearing some of the stories that he tells about some of the United players and what they are like is good to hear.

“I think most of the players have been picking the manager’s brain regarding the players he coached at Old Trafford and who play in their position. I’ve also been talking to Martyn quite a lot about what Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof are like and to be fair it has been really enjoyable to hear his stories.

“You can read stuff in the papers but to hear it from people who have worked very closely alongside these guys – they were there every day training with them – is a whole lot different.”

At 23 Woolfenden is still young in terms of experience, although he has already played for five different full-time managers at Ipswich and is close to making the 150th appearance of his career when you add in the games he played while on loan at both National League club Bromley and Swindon in League Two.

He added: “Here at Ipswich we need consistency in results but also behind the scenes to see a project through, especially when you bring in a lot of players in the summer because with that sort of turnover it is going to take time to get everyone on board.

“All 19 players who joined in the close season came from playing for different managers, who all had their own plans and ideas of how they wanted to play and who all see the game differently.

“Now it’s about everyone here seeing it the way our manager sees it and taking it out on to the pitch. It will take time before everyone is on the same page – and I mean more than a few months – and also, if it isn’t working after a few months not scrapping it and starting all over again.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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Cakeman added 06:49 - Jan 20
An interesting read with some very well thought out comments. It could well be that our new management team setting up to play with the style of playing out from the back will suit Luke and bring out his strengths. Hopefully he will establish himself in the team as without doubt he has a great deal of ability. I do like the fact he appears to have a calm head too.
If all goes well and he keeps injury free he could be a key player for us for years to come. Best of luck Luke.

Europablue added 06:55 - Jan 20
"not getting all emotional and working in a way where everything has to be built around blood, sweat and fire all the time" sounds like a rebuke of Cook and his methods.
It's a shame McKenna wasn't here earlier because he would have been able to get more out of Downes, Bishop, and Dozzell. They were a bit lost in a key stage of their careers so it was good for them to move on.

Europablue added 07:26 - Jan 20
"It will take time before everyone is on the same page – and I mean more than a few months – and also, if it isn’t working after a few months not scrapping it and starting all over again" was that also a comment on the previous managers?

Jonaldo added 09:38 - Jan 20
It's good to hear that he has ambition and a desire to learn.

IMHO he needs to improve his concentration, which was evident in the game with Bolton, when he made a couple of errors of judgement as last man, one that was fortunate not to end up in a goal.

If he can get his head down and produces a full season of consistent performances, then he definitely does have the makings of a very good Championship defender.

He is not yet close to being a graceful, ball playing, Russel Osman like centre half , but certainly is capable of reaching that level if he applies himself.

markchips added 15:54 - Jan 20
Would like to see Luke succeed as he clearly has the ability. He is far from perfect but any true supporter wants one of their own to make it.

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