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Mick McCarthy hails ‘big star’ Grant Ward and ‘water carrier’ Cole Skuse

PUBLISHED: 15:47 20 April 2017 | UPDATED: 15:48 20 April 2017

Grant Ward has featured in 44 games for Ipswich Town during his debut season at the club. Photo: Steve Waller

Grant Ward has featured in 44 games for Ipswich Town during his debut season at the club. Photo: Steve Waller

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy has hailed Grant Ward as one of the team’s biggest stars this season.

A £600k signing from Tottenham Hotspur last summer, the 22-year-old memorably scored a hat-trick on his debut after coming on as a half-time substitute in the 4-2 opening day home win over Barnsley.

He’s made 36 starts and a further seven substitute appearances since then, scoring three more times and playing in a variety of positions – from winger, to wing-back, central midfield and, most recently, as a No.10.

“He’s been a really big star for us, I think, not just in the last few games but over the season,” said McCarthy.

“He’s played in a number of positions, but playing in behind Didzy (Dabid McGoldrick) has really suited him.

“I remember Sparky (Mark Kennedy, former Under-23 boss) watched him for Spurs when he played as number 10 and reporting back about how well he played.

“He’s quite versatile and I think he’s really stepped up his game.”

Asked if he had found Ward’s best role in recent weeks, McCarthy replied: “It’s hard to deny that because of the energy that he’s got and the ability too. “It’s nice to be versatile though. When he plays wide he certainly helps the full-back in defensive situations, while he’s got that ability and pace to get by defenders and put crosses in.

“It’s nice to have that variation.”

He added: “I think Emyr (Huws) and Grant Ward would both appreciate the fact that Skusey (Cole Skuse) is sat there doing, as (Eric) Cantona called it, the ‘water carrier’ role. And I don’t know anybody who can do without water!

“They can get forwards knowing full well they have got security there.”

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