Cotter shines on his Ipswich debut as Irish teenager offers glimpse against Barnsley
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Barry Cotter isn’t simply a Neymar look-a-like anymore.
The attention around the young Irish defender’s £50,000 signing from Limerick in January centred around his likeness to the Brazilian forward, during a viral social media post in 2015 at least, but he emerged from that shadow as he impressed on his Ipswich Town debut against Barnsley.
The truth is a change of haircut means he no longer bears any resemblance to the Paris St Germain forward but, while he is certainly a work in progress, those at Portman Road for the clash with the Tykes were able to witness the teenager begin to make his mark on English football.
His departure, before the hour mark, was booed and his display cheered in equal measure as the Portman Road crowd showed exactly what they thought of his first appearance.
He clearly enjoyed his evening, as he raced over to take the applause of the North Stand crowd at the final whistle.
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Prior to his debut his senior experience was limited to just 11 appearances in the League of Ireland, but you would not have known as he slotted into a right wing-back role with ease following injuries to Luke Chambers and Adam Webster.
In revealing he was set to feature prior to the game, McCarthy insisted he was physically ready for the Championship but it was a case of ‘wait and see’ technically. He proved the Blues boss right on that count and answered the other question inside the opening minutes with a few neat touches.
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He showed he is strong, quick, confident and mature, as he defended well, attacked with purpose and wasn’t afraid to express himself despite the grandeur of the occasion.
The signs were good early on as he took the ball with his first touch of the game and ran at his man, getting home fans off their seats, and he backed that up with a superb touch and clearance under pressure inside his own box just a few minutes later.
He showed his full range of passing, too, as he sprayed two good balls from right to left and then unleashed some trickery to fool former Ipswich loanee Zeki Fryers on halfway before running and delivering a decent ball into the box.
Before the half had ended he started an attacking move with a glorious cross-field ball to Mustapha Carayol and ended with a driven shot which flew marginally over the top of the crossbar.
His game ended just before the hour mark as he was replaced by Grant Ward, but the hope will be we see a lot more of the young Irishman during the final four games of the season.