Burns: Our Ambition is to Win the League Next Year
Saturday, 30th Apr 2022 18:29 by Blair Ferguson
After finishing the season with two goals in Ipswich Town’s 4-0 win against Charlton Athletic at Portman Road, multiple player of the year award-winner Wes Burns outlined Town’s aim of winning League One next season.
Ipswich gave a 26,000-strong crowd the ending they wanted after recent stuttering performances with an emphatic display showing exactly what they are capable of.
Burns, who finished as Town’s top scorer for the season with 13 goals, was joined on the scoresheet by Tyreeq Bakinson and James Norwood, who signed off his Ipswich career with an 88th-minute goal.
Reflecting on the day and finishing as Ipswich’s leading goalscorer for 2021/22, Burns said: “Some would say it’s been the perfect day to end the season. Obviously, I got the two goals and we scored four brilliant goals, so it’s been a great way to finish it.”
However, reflecting on the campaign as a whole, he added: “I’m a little bit bitter about it really, because there are teams that have finished above us that we know we’re better than as well.
“I don’t want to comment too much on that one just in case I say something I shouldn’t, but we know we’ve got a lot of work to do next year and hopefully we’re going to win the league next year, that’s what our ambition is.”
His two goals against the Addicks took him above Macauley Bonne in the goal charts.
“To be fair, before the game, I knew I was one behind Macca,” Burns continued. “And I was like if I can get one, I’d be happy to equal it, but then he was the one that got the assist that made me beat him. In the celebrations, he was sort of kicking himself, thinking, ‘Why did I square it?’.
“I’m delighted, to be fair. Like I said before, it’s my most productive season in terms of goals and assists. The most I’ve had before is probably six or seven, so I’ve almost doubled that, which is brilliant for me.
“I really don’t know [what the difference has been this season]. Obviously, I’ve been working very hard with the coaching staff in terms of how to improve my game, the types of runs that I need to make, where I need to be when the ball is on the other side of the pitch, getting into the box, making sure you’re in the right areas to score goals, and I think paid dividends.
“We’re very productive down the right-hand side. I think everyone is aware of that. Obviously, the combination of me, JD [Janoi Donacien], Sone [Aluko] or Chappers [Conor Chaplin] when they play down that side, we all link very well together and I think that’s been another reason why we’ve been so productive down that side.
“A lot of the time this year, I have been [a marked man] as well, but like the boss said before, it’s a chance now to come back next year and improve on what I’ve done this year.”
Burns has been Town’s standout player this season with his contribution of goals and assists. His performances have earned him individual accolades, with the supporters’ Player of the Year added to his mantelpiece this afternoon.
Having joined from Fleetwood Town in the summer, he believes the support of the fans and everyone at the club has helped him settle quickly and have one of his best seasons yet.
“At the start, I was delighted to have signed and excited to get started,” he explained. “The fans and everyone at the club have taken to me superbly, which has helped me settle, and that’s probably one of the reasons why I’ve had such a productive season.
“I can’t thank them enough for that. They’ve helped me settle very easily into the club and it’s probably a reason I’ve done so well.
“I’ve been delighted to pick up all of the awards that I have done. Just to get the recognition and even be nominated for most things is brilliant and to then go on and win them is even better.”
Manager Kieran McKenna mentioned Burns had been a striker earlier in his career at his Friday press conference - the Welshman once scored a hat-trick for Bristol City’s U18s against their Town counterparts playing as a striker - so perhaps his goals tally shouldn’t be a surprise.
“That was when I was very young to be fair,” he recalled. “When I was 17 or 18 I played upfront in our youth team and I think it was because I was quick basically. But it didn’t really turn into much, to be honest, which is why I ended up at right-back.”
This summer is set to be very different from last year for Town, who were adding players almost daily throughout pre-season with Burns one of only a handful of players signed at the start of pre-season.
However, with a solid group now in place, Burns hopes the recruitment team can play their part and strengthen the squad in the right areas before the players return for pre-season in mid-June.
“It was me and three or four others [who were here for the start of pre-season], I think,” Burns explained
“It was mad to watch the squad grow the way it did. Every single day there was somebody else signing and we were all excited at the start of the season for us to go and achieve great things at this massive club.
“Obviously it wasn’t to be this year, but that’s given us energy and fuel to go and do it next year.
“As a team we know where we need to improve and where we need to get better. In the off-season, there will be a lot of hard work to do. The recruitment team will do what they’ve got to do to bring the right players in the right positions, so we’re just looking forward to next year now.
“I think we’ve said it many times in post-game interviews, sometimes we’re banging the door down and can’t quite get the goal, but when we do play like we did today, we are capable of scoring lots of types of goals. I’m delighted for Ty [Tyreeq Bakinson] with his goal as well, so it’s just one of those ones.
“Hopefully, the recruitment team bring in the players that we need to strengthen in the positions that are required, and then we kick on next year.”
Space has been made for new recruits with the departures of players such as Tom Carroll and James Norwood, as well as the likely exits of a number of others, and Burns says the training ground will be a quieter place without the striker.
“He is a great lad, to be fair,” he said. “I’ve known James a very long time going back to our Forest Green days. I’m delighted for him today and it’s obviously sad for us to see him go because he is such a big character in the dressing room.
“I think the main thing we’ll be losing is the goals. He is a great character around the place, he’s lively and there’s never a dull day when James Norwood is about and obviously we’ll wish him all the best.
“There’s every chance [he’ll play against us next season]. He gets goals, so it wouldn’t surprise me if somebody in this league snapped him up because he is a very good player, he brings goals to your team, and I just wish he doesn’t score against us next year.
"He’s already said to be that him and Morsy might have a little bit, but that’s the two players that they are.”
Asked whether he has any hopes of inclusion in the Wales squad for their June fixtures, Burns would love to be involved, however, isn’t anticipating his first call-up.
“I won’t hold my breath on that one,” he said. “Obviously if it happens it happens.
“Something that I’ve always wanted to go and do is pick up my full cap for Wales. It hasn’t happened as of yet but if it happens it happens.”
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