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McKenna: El Mizouni and Harper in Long-Term Plans But Available For Loan
Friday, 21st Jan 2022 15:48

Town boss Kieran McKenna says midfield pair Idris El Mizouni and Rekeem Harper have long-term futures at Portman Road but need to move out on loan during the second half of the season to play regular football.

Tunisia international El Mizouni, 21, came through the academy and has featured fleetingly in the first team over the last few seasons, while Harper, also 21, was signed from West Brom in the summer.

The signing of Tyreeq Bakinson means the Blues have even more central midfielders and McKenna says he has spoken to El Mizouni, who has previously had two loan stints at Cambridge United, and Harper about their situations.

“That’s something we’ve looked at in terms of options,"” he said. “Obviously, we have a couple of young midfielders here, or relatively young in Idris and Rekeem, who we think are really good talents, have got a future of the club.

“We want them to be part of our plans going forward and we want them to be here in pre-season competing for places and showing what they can do and trying to fight their way into the team.

“Both of them are probably at the stage where they haven’t played as much football as they would like to this year.

“Idris is still trying to work his way into senior football but is a great personality, a hungry boy who works hard in training and I’m sure he’s going to be a very good player.

“And Rekeem is someone who has had good exposure at an early age at West Brom. Again, a real talent that has got really good ingredients but hasn’t had a real run of games, probably over the course of his career so far probably hasn’t had six, seven or eight league games in a row.

“We’ve had conversations with both of them, and we’ve discussed the pathway and the plans for them over the longer term and part of that was that we think that it would be a good option for them to seek games until the end of the season somewhere where they can play regularly.

“Really put a run of games together and gain experience and confidence and exposure and putting themselves in a better position for going into next year.

“So, that’s something that we’re working on as a club. Obviously, it needs to be the right fit for both of them and somewhere that we feel that will be right for their development.

“If that doesn’t happen, then we’re delighted to have them both here. They’ll both be part of the squad and compete for places and train and develop.

“But we felt like at this stage it was really important for both of them to have the opportunity to be starters regularly somewhere if possible in the second half of the season because it’s really important for their development.

“So, that’s two examples, I guess, of pathways, we need to look at and make sure that we’re covered.

“We have the right depth for the rest of the season but also those players who really need minutes and are part of our plans going forward that we give them that opportunity.

“Obviously, we have Tom Carroll here as well, who is a really talented player who I know from my time at Tottenham. He’s had some injury issues this year but is working his way up towards full sharpness, and I think he’s getting better and better with every training session, so he gives us a different type of option as well.

“So, we’re well-stocked. Jon Nolan has obviously had a lot of injury issues over the last couple of years. He’s doing absolutely everything that he can to get fit and needs to get match fit first of all and then look for the opportunity to get himself some games and build his career.

“We’ve got a lot of players in a lot of different positions. For some, it’s going to be right for them to get games, for other boys, it’s right for them to stay here and keep working and get fitter and compete in the squad.

“We’ll look at each case on an individual basis and do what is right for the club, make sure we have enough cover and enough and enough competition but also that we’re not blocking pathways and that we’re giving players that are important to us an opportunity to play and develop and do what is right for them to be part of our long-term plans.”

McKenna says which division they move to temporarily isn’t as significant as being at the right clubs.

“I think the level isn’t as important for me as the right club and the right fit,” he reflected. “I think both of them are capable of playing at clubs throughout the different levels in England.

“Hopefully they can be a good addition if it’s right for them and they can find the right place, but I think the level is less important, it’s more about the development plan for both of them going somewhere that is the right fit, the right playing style, the right manager, the right opportunities to play.

“We’re not so focused on the level when we’ve had those conversations with them this morning, it’s more about finding the right opportunities.

“Obviously, the opportunities aren’t always easy to find, but I think for two boys as talented and as young as them, we think we can find something that will be a good fit for them for their development.”

Photos: Matchday Images/TWTD

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brendenward35 added 15:55 - Jan 21
I can see a few more players loaned out or even moved on in this windows whilst McKenna gets his squad down as it's a large squad of players still. Hopefully these two will get a good team to go to and not in league one.

AK74 added 16:02 - Jan 21
Start making your way to Colchester lads.....

Suffolkboy added 16:10 - Jan 21
Ultimate professionalism and absolutely cares about getting the detail right !Respect !!

Bazza8564 added 16:11 - Jan 21
This has to make sense, two young lads who arent going to get involved if we are to push for a promotion place and seek to strengthen, albeit for teh shorter term.

chepstowblue added 16:26 - Jan 21
El Mizouni must be getting seriously p*ssed off by now. If I was him I'd want to be moved on. I definitely don't want Harper going anywhere.Yes, he's been either very good or very poor when I've seen him, but according to my Bristol City supporters down here, if he loses his place to Bakinson he'd have to be appalling !!

keighleyblue added 16:28 - Jan 21
Sounds like Mr Nolan may be going out on loan, once fit (or to build his fitness)

Ipswichbusiness added 17:23 - Jan 21
As I understand it, Jon Nolan’s contract is up at the end of the season. With his injury record, I can’t see a case for keeping him on.

Linkboy13 added 18:23 - Jan 21
chepstowblue how can Harper lose his place he's not in the team and hasn't been for quite a while. No player is going to be happy not being in the team it's up to them to impress the manager. Both players haven't really stamped their authority on the games they have played and need a spell out on loan El Mizouni especially.

Monkey_Blue added 19:06 - Jan 21
Glad to hear he sees a long term future for both, particularly El Miz.

mojo added 22:44 - Jan 21
I wonder if Idris will end up back at Cambridge...

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