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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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Chris Brammer shares his ratings from Ipswich Town’s 2-1 defeat at Crystal Palace, in the Carabao Cup, on Tuesday night. The Blues gave seven players their professional debuts.

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Ipswich Town’s young guns travel to Premier League side Crystal Palace in the Carabao Cup second round tonight. STUART WATSON previews the match.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy addressed the media on Monday, ahead of the Blues’ second-round trip to Premier League Crystal Palace, in the Carabao Cup, on Tuesday evening.

Confident teenage midfielder Flynn Downes believes one of the most inexperienced Ipswich Town sides in history can cause an almighty Carabao Cup upset at Premier League hosts Crystal Palace tonight (7.30pm ko).

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