Central figures, points to prove, the last chance saloon and possible loans - what the future holds for Town’s young guns
PUBLISHED: 06:00 11 July 2019
A dozen Ipswich Town academy graduates are with the senior squad on tour in Germany. ANDY WARREN looks at what the season holds for the youngsters.
Of the 22 players who took to the field in Saturday's game with Paderborn, 12 of them came through the Blues' academy.
Some will become cornerstones of Paul Lambert's first-team, others will have to wait for their chance while some will spend the season in the club's age group teams.
Lambert will have learnt a lot about his young players during a tortuous 2018/19 season as the club slipped towards League One, with the Town boss admitting on numerous occasions that too much pressure was being placed on inexperienced players.
Flynn Downes played in 22 of Lambert's 32 games in charge, with the Ipswich manager trusting the 20-year-old in big games and big moments.
Teddy Bishop featured 19 times under Lambert and, as well as proving his fitness after three injury-hit seasons, showed flashes of creativity and drive from the middle of midfield.
Then there was Jack Lankester who, after being handed a debut by Paul Hurst, had become a trusted figure on the right wing before a back injury ended his season.
He will need to be looked after, but evidence suggests he can be one of Lambert's most exciting attacking options.
Lambert knows what the trio offer, with all three likely to be key figures during the season ahead.
The time is now
Myles Kenlock played just six minutes of football under Hurst but then featured 18 further times under Lambert, becoming the undisputed starter at left-back after Jonas Knudsen was stood down from the side.
He had good games and bad games; with moments suggesting he could make the shirt his own and others highlighting the raw sides of his game.
As things stand he is the only specialist left-back in the Town squad and is set to start on opening day, but there is a sense he still has work to do to convince Lambert and sections of the Town support that he is ready to be leaned on heavily.
Points to prove
Kenlock isn't the only Ipswich Town youngster with a point to prove.
There is no disputing Andre Dozzell's ability but he has yet to nail down a regular starting spot in the Ipswich side under Mick McCarthy, Hurst or Lambert.
He showed what he is all about in the final day victory over Leeds and was among the best performers against Paderborn, operating in the centre of midfield alongside Cole Skuse.
It's also worth noting the playmaker has just a year left on his contract.
Josh Emmanuel was given an extra 12 months to prove his worth at Portman Road but has yet to show he can be relied upon as a regular right-back, with the youngster battling with Janoi Donacien for a starting spot this summer. You feel it's 'now or never' for the 21-year-old.
Tristan Nydam's career stalled last season, with a fruitless loan at St Johnstone rendering the first-half of his campaign a write-off before returning to Portman Road and playing with the Under 23s.
Given the amount of midfield traffic, his best route to the first-team appears to be at left-back, where he played the second half last weekend.
Luke Woolfenden was already on loan at Swindon Town when Lambert was appointed in October, but will be looking to make a good first impression this summer.
His time at the County Ground was a success, with 36 games played, improvements made to the physical side of his game and his reputation as a central defender who is comfortable on the ball enhanced.
He'll be looking to force his way into Lambert's starting line-up given captain Luke Chambers (who is suspended for the opening game of the season) and Toto Nsiala are the only senior options at centre-back.
The next in line in the middle of the Ipswich defence currently is young Irishman Corrie Ndaba.
He impressed in training towards the end of last season and was close to a first-team debut before Lambert insisted his performances in the Under 23s had not been up to scratch.
Idris El Mizouni made one start and three substitute appearances in the final weeks of the season following an impressive year at Under 23 level, with the creative midfielder showing glimpses of what he has to offer.
He returns to Ipswich as a newly-capped Tunisian international but will face a fight to emerge from the Blues' well-stocked midfield depth chart. Could he be a candidate for a loan move away from Suffolk?
Both Ndaba and El Mizouni will be looking to build on what they did at the end of last term.
New kids on the block
For Bailey Clements and Armando Dobra, simply making the Ipswich Town touring party is an achievement.
Both signed pro deals during last season after impressing for the Blues' young sides, with Clements a calm and collected left-back and Dobra a scrappy and creative attacker.
The youngsters figure to be a fair way from the first-team picture when the real football kicks off, but this vote of confidence from Lambert shows how highly thought of they are at Portman Road.
Young goalkeepers Harry Wright and Adam Przybek are on Town's German tour but are unlikely to see gametime ahead of Bartosz Bialkowski and Tomas Holy.
Both are highly thought of but at least one is likely to spend time out on loan this season.
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