Adam Webster confident he take the step up to the Championship in his stride
Ipswich Town new boy Adam Webster is confident he can take the step up to the Championship in his stride.
Blues boss Mick McCarthy has shelled out the biggest transfer fee of his three-and-half years in charge – £700k plus highly-rated youngster Matt Clarke – to land the 21-year-old centre-back from League Two club Portsmouth this summer.
That shows you just how much potential McCarthy sees in a player who, just three years ago, was playing on loan at non-league club Aldershot. He is, however, also a player who was on trial at Chelsea as a schoolboy and who was played up an age group for England Under-19s.
“If you’re not confident in your own ability then it is going to be hard for someone to trust you. You’ve got to be confident,” said Webster.
“There is obviously great competition for places at centre-half this year.
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“Christophe (Berra) and Tommy (Smith) have both got loads of games under their belts, they are both very experienced in the Championship and capped internationally as well, so training and playing with them will really help my progress.
“I’ve always like to think I can bring the ball out from the back, that’s one of my traits, and I just want to show everyone what I can do.”
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Webster missed the League Two play-offs last season with an ankle injury and will only return to full training next week. He won’t be fit for next Wednesday’s game at Colchester, but is aiming to be involved in next Saturday’s friendly at Cambridge.
“I had a six-week trial with Southampton at the age of 10 and back then I was probably a bit overwhelmed,” he explained. “Then I had a trial at Chelsea and there were a number of lads a lot better than me at the time. Quite a lot of those players are still there now – Nathaniel Chalobah, Lewis Baker are the two that stand out.
“I’d always been at Pompey’s advanced training centre a couple of nights a week and when they knew I’d been on trial at Chelsea they wanted to sign me immediately.
“I owe a lot to a lot of people at the football club. The move is right for both clubs though and I’m sure that Portsmouth will get promoted this season – but this was the right thing to do for my career.”
On playing for England, he said: “I played once for the 18s, did well and was pushed up into Noel Blake’s 19s. I played six times for them and that was a great experience playing with such great young players. A lot of it was at St George’s Park and we had some games in Belgium and Slovenia too.
“There’s no better feeling than getting a call from your country. That’s one of the highlights of my career so far. You come back to your club absolutely buzzing and full of confidence.”
He continued: “The Championship is full of quality. Any mistakes you make you’re probably going to get punished, whereas some mistakes you make in League Two you can get away with. There is not a bad side in this league. You’ve got to be concentrating and at your best at all times.”
He added: “I played right-back when I made my debut at 17 and stayed in that position for three years after that. I don’t mind playing the odd game there, but centre-half is my position and that’s the position I want to nail down.
“Always, since I was 10 years old, I’ve seen myself as a centre-back. Andy Awford left towards the end of the 2014/15 season, there were four games left and I hadn’t been playing. Gary Waddock, the assistant manager, took over and he put me straight in at centre-back and I did well. Paul Cook took over and he kept me in the team from what I’d seen.
“I love to be a ball-playing defender, but at the of the day I am a centre-half and my main priority is to get clean sheets, stop strikers and stop goals.
“There’s nothing better than making a last ditch tackle or blocking a shot. I thrive on that.”