Andre Dozzell not ready for Ipswich Town first team yet, says Mick McCarthy

Ipswich Town midfielder Andre Dozzell in action against Liverpool in an Under-23 fixture. Photo: Jam

Ipswich Town midfielder Andre Dozzell in action against Liverpool in an Under-23 fixture. Photo: James Ager - Credit: James Ager

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy says teenage prodigy Andre Dozzell is not ready for regular first team action just yet.

Town take on Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough tomorrow, the scene of Dozzell’s ‘Roy of the Rovers’ moment back on April 16.

Aged 16 years and 350 days, the former Copleston High School pupil stepped off the bench at half-time and scored on his debut, repeating the feat of his father Jason who himself scored on his Town debut at the age of 16 years and 57 days back in 1984.

Dozzell junior started the next game, a 1-1 home draw with Fulham, but his only other appearance to date came in the League Cup defeat to Stevenage in August. He’s been on the bench in seven of Town’s 15 Championship games this season.

A host of top-flight clubs are closely monitoring the England Under-18 international’s development, with Liverpool reportedly ready to make a transfer bid in January for a player who penned a two-year deal at Portman Road this summer.

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Asked why Dozzell’s first-team chances had been limited, McCarthy replied: “In my view he’s certainly not going to affect the team.

“He’s playing in the Under-23s, he needs games, he needs to keep playing and he needs to keep doing his strength and conditioning.

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“He trains with the first team mostly, although he’s been with the 23s recently. He’ll be playing on Friday (home to West Brom in the Under-23 Premier League Cup) and is progressing very, very well.

“He’s got a raw talent that is given from his genes. You can see that in training. But you all come and watch this brutal league which is the Championship. It requires a certain mentality and physical strength. He’s getting there still with that.

“He made such an impact and I think he will be involved this season, I still do. He’s just not right for how we are playing at the moment and how things are.

“If we’re having to scrap for everything I don’t think those are Dozza’s best qualities. If we start playing well and winning games again that’s a better time to introduce him.”

He added: “We value him here. It’s just about when the time is right. He’s not turned 18. Throwing him into a tough situation might have an adverse affect on him rather than a positive affect.”

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