Chalobah is back – but he’s not been earmarked for a centre-back role
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Ipswich Town may be short of centre-backs, but manager Paul Hurst insists that summer signing Trevoh Chalobah has not been signed for that role.
The 19-year-old arrived on a season-long loan from Chelsea a month ago, but after taking part in a week-long training camp in Spain with his new club mates he departed for England Under-19 international duty.
It was a disappointing European Championship campaign for Paul Simpson’s defending champions over in Finland. Hampered by the fact a number of clubs blocked call-ups, they crashed out at the group stage then suffered an U20 World Cup play-off defeat to Norway on Thursday.
Chalobah, who played every minute at centre-back for a team that conceded 12 goals in four games, returned to Suffolk yesterday and could feature for the Blues in this afternoon’s final warm-up game, against West Ham, at Portman Road (3pm).
Following the £3.5m sale of Adam Webster to Bristol City, Hurst has Luke Chambers as his sole senior centre-back specialist with a week until the Championship opener against Blackburn.
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On Chalobah playing that role for the Young Lions, joked: “Yeah, and they conceded five goals (against France). I think the first goal he will probably have been a little bit disappointed with.
“I’m not saying he will never play there, but I brought him in as a midfield player really with the attributes that he’s got. Maybe age comes into that slightly as well. I think that (midfield) would be a better position for him at this moment in time.”
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With Emyr Huws, Teddy Bishop and Tom Adeyemi still not ready for action following long-term injuries, and Cole Skuse set to miss today’s game with a thigh problem, Hurst is short of midfield options as well as defensive ones.
He said: “When Flynn (Downes) felt his back the other night I was thinking ‘what can we do now?’ We’ve supposedly got all these midfield players, but most of them are either in the treatment room or not available. So it will be good to get Trevoh back.
“It’s a big ask for him to start against West Ham because he has played four games and, with the travelling, I don’t want to put him at risk.
“He said he feels strong and feels good. We’ll see. It will be nice if we can put him out there for a part of the game at least. He’s almost like a new signing for us because all I’ve been able to see is his initials (on a board) but him not being there for training.”
Meanwhile, Chambers has been impressed with what he’s seen of Chalobah so far.
“He looks some player,” said the Town skipper. “I don’t want to give away any inside information in terms of how the gaffer plans to use him, but it will be interesting to see.
“He made a good impression the first two weeks he was with us and it was a shame to lose him over the last couple of weeks.
“He brings a lot of quality, a lot of personality, and he settled into the group really well.
“I’ve made no secret of how it’s an easy group to settle into but I feel the new players have definitely made an impact. They are trying to change the mindset that has probably needed changing for a while.”