Cameron Stewart has ‘wow factor’, says Mick McCarthy
Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says Cameron Stewart must provide ‘wow factor’ on a more consistent basis.
A former Manchester United youth team player who attracted seven figure bids during his time at Hull City, the left-winger has pedigree.
The 25-year-old’s career has stalled since his free transfer switch to Portman Road in 2014 though. He’s been restricted to just two appearances in two seasons – both as a substitute in the FA Cup – and twice been loaned out to League One clubs (Barnsley and Doncaster).
Stewart was placed on the transfer list a year ago, but has been brought in from the cold this summer and is currently the only out-and-out winger in the first team squad.
He caught the eye with some direct running in the early pre-season games against Shelbourne and Barnet, was quieter in the match at Colchester and was then not used at Cambridge last weekend.
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Handed squad number 35 it seemed as though Stewart may not be in McCarthy’s plans after all, but he stepped off the bench at Charlton on Tuesday night and supplied two inch-perfect crosses in the closing stages that Luke Chambers should have scored from.
“He’s come back slim and fit and put two very good crosses in tonight,” said McCarthy. “He is part of the squad and will be part of the team photograph on Thursday and it’s very much up to him to keep progressing and proving he should be around it.
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“He’s got that bit of magic dust at times, that bit of wow factor, but I’m not convinced it’s there all the time over 90 minutes. I think, like anybody, he likes to have an arm around him and a bit of confidence given to him. He’s had that this pre-season because he’s come back and shown me he wants to do it.”
McCarthy has previously hinted that it will be striker Freddie Sears and midfielder Teddy Bishop who will start in the wide positions when the Championship opener against Barnsley, at Portman Road, comes around a week tomorrow.
Left-winger Roland Lamah will get another chance to impress in Saturday’s home friendly against Belgian side Royale Union Saint-Gilloise, while 17-year-old Andre Dozzell has been tried on the flanks in pre-season.
“Sometimes you have to put someone in a position to have a look,” said McCarthy. “I thought Dozza was excellent at Cambridge. This (Charlton) was maybe a bit tougher for him. I have to say we didn’t really give him the ball enough. At times he could have had it and they didn’t give it to him.
“He’s a lad who will create things and he’ll be in the squad this year. He might be better in a three. And we’ll have to play three sometimes because we don’t want to get done in midfield.
“We’ve got some good quality there. James Blanchfield is coming on, while Bish is the star man when he comes on, the best player on the park, without a doubt.”
Meanwhile, McCarthy gave an update on midfielder Luke Hyam after he landed awkwardly at Cambridge last weekend: “He’s got bone bruising. I’m not saying it’s nothing, but he hasn’t done his ligaments or cartilage. He’ll be fine.”