McCarthy hopes Sam Ford makes it at West Ham after Ipswich Town release
PUBLISHED: 12:33 07 March 2016 | UPDATED: 16:37 07 March 2016
Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy has explained his decision to release Sam Ford after the 17-year-old striker signed for Premier League club West Ham United.
The Blues announced recently that they would be offering professional deals to six academy players this summer, but Ford – a regular in the Under-21s this season – was not among them. With that in mind he was allowed to join the Hammers on trial and did enough to earn himself a one-year deal.
“I hope for him that it does come back to bite us,” said McCarthy. “And we’ve safeguarded ourselves a little bit with the deal.”
With West Ham announcing that they had signed a ‘highly-rated young player’ on their website, McCarthy said: “It’s strange isn’t it? Have I ever signed someone and said they were crap? No, I haven’t! When you take someone in you always say ‘he’s highly-rated, he’s fantastic, he’s terrific’. You’re never going to say anything different.
“I’m not saying he’s a bad player, he’s just not going to get in our first team. That’s in my view and in everybody else’s’ view. That’s just not me making a one-off decision, that’s everybody.”
Ipswich Town made a bold pledge back in 2013, when launching their academy fundraising drive, that half of the first team squad would be homegrown by 2017.
That looks a tall order as the date fast approaches, but McCarthy is still very much excited about the crop of youngsters coming through under Bryan Klug’s academy at Playford Road.
“Tommy Smith is in the team every week, Luke Hyam plays regularly, Bish (Teddy Bishop) would have played more had it not been for injury. That’s only three out of the 11. If we’re talking about 50 per cent on the pitch that would be a pretty big hit,” said McCarthy, talking about the aforementioned quota.
“I do see the midfield players coming through – James Blanchfield, Kundai Benyu, Andre Dozzell – as really special players though. Whether they can all become special players in the first team, time will tell.
“Andre Dozzell has trained with the first team recently, as has Adam McDonnell. Josh Emmannuel has trained with the first team most of the season, as has Myles Kenlock. It’s great seeing a few of the academy lads come through.
"We hope it is the start of something for them. They are full of hope and optimism for the future. We all hope they go on to be long-term pros with us and get in the first team, but as we all know it’s a difficult process and not too many make it.
“If it doesn’t happen with us I hope they end up being professional footballers elsewhere. That means we will have done a good job.
“It’s a lofty standard we are working at, despite the Premier league being above us. It’s pretty demanding to become a pro footballer and become a Championship footballer. It’s a good standard to be at.”
– For more from McCarthy on Andre Dozzell, see tomorrow’s Ipswich Star and EADT.