‘He wants the ball. Did others? I’d question that’ – Hurst’s praise for Dozzell
Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst says a few of his players could take a leaf out of teenage midfielder Andre Dozzell’s book.
The 19-year-old starlet missed the whole of last season with a cruciate knee, but has got minutes in Town’s opening two games of pre-season – a 1-0 win against Kilmarnock and a 2-0 defeat at Braintree Town.
Dozzell came on in the 64th minute at Cressing Road and soon injected a bit of life into what had been a listless team performance.
“He gave the ball away a few times but other times he passed it well,” said Hurst.
“You can just tell he’s a good footballer and he wants the ball, which is something I sometimes question.
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“As footballers, if you ask everybody they’ll be like ‘yeah, I want the ball, I want the ball’. Well, Doz actually goes and gets the ball.
“Some of the others, did they do that as much as they could have done? I’d question that.”
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Hurst, whose team face League two side Crawley Town (at East Grinstead Town) tomorrow night, added: “I’m pleased to get him out there.
“He’s going to have a battle with himself as much as anything in terms of him expecting to be the Andre Dozzell who started the first game of last season. Hopefully myself and the rest of the staff will help him with that.
“It’s going to take time but he’s working extremely hard. I’ve been really impressed with his attitude.
“There have been times we’ve maybe said to just ease back a little and he’s wanted to carry on, despite being at the back of the running.
“Not in all ways, but when it maybe gets to an extra set of runs we’ve all probably been in that position at some point in our lives or in some situation when you’re not good at something or you are at the back of the pack.
“It’s easy to get the white flag out, but he hasn’t done that and that’s really pleasing and positive for me moving forwards.”
Reflecting further on Saturday’s defeat, Hurst said: “Will they go into games sharper when we play Blackburn? Of course they will. But at the same time the work on the coaching ground continues.
“But there’s no better thing than games realistically because that’s what it comes down to, maybe highlighting some weaknesses, some things that certainly need to be worked upon and see who has maybe taken on board some of the things we’re trying to get across.
“Albeit it’s still early days and most of the work has been fitness-based rather than tactically.
“But the bit that we’ve done, some have taken it on board. I have to mention Tristan Nydam. He went on and I think he was one of the few to come out with some credit. He listens, he wants to learn and that’s the type of player we want.”