‘I love the physical challenge’ - McGuinness on his debut, and Town selection philosophy
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Mark McGuinness admits he loves nothing more than a physical battle - and relishes the Ipswich Town philosophy of ‘play well, stay in the team.’
The 19-year-old Republic of Ireland youth international, who is on a season-long loan at Portman Road from Arsenal, made an impressive debut for Paul Lambert’s side in their win over Gillingham last night.
It gave him a real taste for first-team action - and he wants more.
“I love the physical challenge of the game,” he said after a Teddy Bishop goal gave Town all three points.
“Heading, tackling, that’s my job.
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“It was great to get on the pitch and make my debut, even better to keep a clean sheet and a win. The last game I played was a few weeks ago, it’s been a bit frustrating, but the boys have been playing well. I’m happy for them and the team and have just kept working away, so when the opportunity came I like to think I’ve taken it.
“The philosophy at the club is that if you are playing well you stay in.
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“That’s a good incentive to keep performing. You have that security of starting again if you are doing well.”
McGuinness formed a new central defensive partnership with Luke Woolfenden against a physical Gillingham side who gave them plenty to think about at times.
Sporting a cut eye from the Gills clash, McGuinness was glad to be handed a first-team opportunity, having spent much of his time playing U23 football.
“Under-23 football is a decent standard, but nothing compared to this,” he said.
“It was a great game for me to come into. There was a mixture of emotions, mostly of excitement when I knew I was starting.
“A win and a clean sheet is the perfect debut for me, that’s my job.
“It was important to get back to winning ways, of course. We’ve dropped a few points of late. I should have scored, I had a couple of chances from Andre’s corners. They were great balls in, hopefully I will get a few goals this season.”
Town’s win moved them up to third in the League One table, ahead of another home clash, with Crewe, on Saturday - the Railwaymen having lost 0-1 to leaders Lincoln last night.