Dozzell on his new role, Norwich interest, a new contract and winning promotion for ‘my club’
- Credit: Archant
Andre Dozzell has been a highlight of Ipswich Town’s young season. Andy Warren spoke to him...
It’s been a long time coming for Andre Dozzell, but the midfielder finally has the platform he needs to take his career to the next level.
The road to 50 career appearances – a milestone the 21-year-old finally reached in the victory over Wigan – has been a rocky one for a player who made his debut more than four years ago, with his fair share of set-backs coming along the way.
Injury has of course played its part, with knee ligament damage robbing him of an entire season, but even when he’s been fit the homegrown youngster, with a famous name, has struggled to convince Paul Lambert he’s worthy of a regular starting spot.
That’s all changed now. He’s started all five of the club’s matches this season in a deep midfield role tailored to his strengths, allowing the young England international to show exactly what he can do and maybe, just maybe, deliver on the promise we all know he has.
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It’s been an impressive start, but Dozzell is fully aware he needs to keep it going as he bids to make it up for lost time.
“I’ve had a lot of time to think,” he said. “I’m 21 now so it’s definitely time to kick on with my career.
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“I made my debut when I was 16 and over the years it doesn’t really feel as if I’ve done much. But I had a year out with an injury – a very bad injury.
“We have had a lot of good midfielders for the gaffer to choose from and if they were doing well they deserved to be in the side. I did all I could, just keeping my head down and working hard to get into the team.
“I can be even better too. We are only five games into the new season and I can only improve with playing regularly.
“I’m looking forward to hopefully being given more opportunities to show what I can do and one thing I want to add to my game is goals. I believe the goals will come.
“I still have many years and a lot of football ahead of me. This season has started well and I’m just looking forward to playing my part in helping us to get promoted. That’s what everybody wants.”
Dozzell’s role at the base of the Town midfield has given him time and space to use his excellent range of passing and clever game management to dictate the Blues’ tempo.
It’s a role he’s thoroughly enjoying, even if it brings challenges.
“I do enjoy playing there but to be honest I enjoy playing anywhere in midfield,” he said. “I don’t mind where I’m playing as long as I’m playing.
“That’s what makes me happy, being in the side and playing regularly. I enjoy my current role and it’s different to be there by myself, but as long as I’m playing and showing what I can do I’m happy.
“I can see everything in front of me, the strikers, wingers etc, and I’ve got the range of passing to make it work for me.
“I’ve noticed teams are man-marking me and I expect that to continue. It’s up to me to deal with it and find a way around it. I suppose it’s a compliment in a way, that the other team see me as some sort of threat, but at the end of the day it’s my job to find a solution.
“It’s up to me to play so well that the gaffer doesn’t have any reason to leave me out. I’ll just take it game by game and look to be consistent on a regular basis.”
Dozzell’s breakthrough comes at a vital point in the youngster’s career, given he’s now in the final year of his contract as negotiations continue regarding a new one.
There’s been interest from clubs higher up the pyramid along the way, notably from bitter rivals Norwich, but for now Dozzell is just concentrating on his long-awaited opportunity to play regularly for Ipswich Town.
“Right now it’s all about playing and doing the best I can,” Dozzell said. “We’re only a few games into the new season and all I want is to have a consistent run and show people what I can do.
“I’m not thinking about the contract situation, just concentrating on my football. I believe everything will take care of itself.
“I always felt like I could make it here and play consistently. It’s all about me being able to show what I can do and hopefully this is the season when I’ll be doing that.
“There was interest (from Norwich) but that was a bit of a weird one, really. I just took no notice and focused on my football.
“I’m very ambitious and one day I want to be playing in the Premier League. That is one of my dreams for the future, but for now all I want to do is win promotion this season for Ipswich.
“They are my club and I’ve been here since I was eight. It would be a dream come true to get promoted and that’s what we have set out to do this season.
“Ipswich are too big a club to be sitting in League One and we’ve got to do everything we can this season to get back to the Championship.”