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'I don't see why I shouldn't be here next season... if I'm playing I'm happy' – Dozzell on a frustrating season

PUBLISHED: 11:59 05 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:33 05 April 2019

Andre Dozzell has been limited to just six starts this season. Photo: Steve Waller

Andre Dozzell has been limited to just six starts this season. Photo: Steve Waller

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Town midfielder Andre Dozzell has found first team minutes hard to come by in his first season back following long-term injury. He spoke to the media ahead of tomorrow’s game at Bolton.

Andre Dozzell comes on for Jon Nolan. Photo: Steve WallerAndre Dozzell comes on for Jon Nolan. Photo: Steve Waller

Q: You came on as an early substitute (18th minute) for Jon Nolan last weekend (2-0 home defeat to Hull). It’s been a while since you’ve played that many minutes – how was it?

A: It was good. I haven’t had many games, so it’s hard to be 100 per cent at it, but the more minutes I get the better and sharper I will become. I was happy with my second-half performance and hopefully I can build on that.

It isn’t easy when you are thrown into a Championship game like that but at the end of the day you have to take your opportunities when they come along and hopefully I did that.

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My aim is always to do something special and catch the eye. I try to come on, play freely, play my game and hopefully everything takes care of itself. I know I’m good enough and I’ve just got to show it.

A full 90 minutes has to be the next step. It would be a good feeling.

It’s hard when you are coming in and out of the team but I guess I just have to get on with it, keep working hard and hope that I will get the run of games I believe I need.

Andre Dozzell says he doesn't get much out of playing Under-23s football. Photo: Ross HallsAndre Dozzell says he doesn't get much out of playing Under-23s football. Photo: Ross Halls

Q: You’ve had six starts and nine substitute appearances for the first team this season. Were you hoping for more having missed the whole of the previous season through injury?

A: The injury set me back a fair bit. You know when you get that particular injury that you are going to be out for a long time and in my case it was about a year.

I’ve only made six starts this season and, to be honest, I was hoping for a lot more than that.

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At the end of the day it’s up to me to play well enough to persuade the gaffer to play me and trust me.

If I’m not doing that, fair enough, because I just have to keep working hard and keep going, and hopefully get more games.

Q: What has Paul Lambert said you’ve got to do to get in the team?

A: He has said I need a bit more physicality, although he also tells me that you don’t always need physicality if you play with your brain.

I’ve just got to stick with what my game is because it’s not really about physicality – it’s about playing quickly and using my brain. If you’re good enough on the ball you don’t need that physicality.

Q: Do you think Paul Hurst was a little too cautious with you at the start of the season?

A: From a personal point of view that was frustrating but at the end of the day I could see his point.

Tristan Nydam and Andre Dozzell among the substitutes at West Brom. Photo: PagepixTristan Nydam and Andre Dozzell among the substitutes at West Brom. Photo: Pagepix

After my cruciate injury I’d been out for a year, I was only 19 years old and Championship football is very quick, very up and down.

MORE: Keane and Collins could return but Nolan struggling with Achilles injury - team news for Bolton

I could see where he was coming from but that didn’t mean it was any less frustrating for me.

Fitness is everything. I’m still working most days in the gym and I want to get bigger in terms of my body. Hopefully that will come and I’ll get more powerful out on the pitch.

Q: Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but do you wish you’d gone out on loan this season?

A: No. I thought about it and it was discussed, but straight after recovering from my injury I didn’t think that was the time for me to be going out on loan.

Andre Dozzell on the ball at Bristol City. Photo: PagepixAndre Dozzell on the ball at Bristol City. Photo: Pagepix

I’d had a year out and I still needed to strengthen my knee, so being in and around the first team here was fine.

MORE: Injury-victim Adeyemi returns to Ipswich Town training but Lambert won’t rush midfielder’s comeback

I haven’t played as many games as I wanted to but I have learned a lot this season and I believe it will help me in the long run.

Q: What’s Under-23s football like?

A: It doesn’t really do much for me. Maybe for a bit of fitness and to get the heart going, but it doesn’t push me because it’s not competitive enough.

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Andre Dozzell in action for England's U20s earlier this season. Photo: PagepixAndre Dozzell in action for England's U20s earlier this season. Photo: Pagepix

I want to be playing when three points are on the line and you’re playing to avoid relegation or whatever the case may be. That’s what we all need if we’re going to improve as players.

Q: Having not played a lot of football over the last two years, next season is a big one for you isn’t it?

A: Definitely. I need a big season – first of all playing loads of games and also scoring goals and supplying assists as often as possible.

I want to be good enough to virtually run games from my position in midfield. I know I can do it but it’s time I showed it.

I just need a run of games and then I can show what I have to offer.

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Andre Dozzell at Birmingham as a sub. Photo: PagepixAndre Dozzell at Birmingham as a sub. Photo: Pagepix

The opportunity came up last Saturday against Hull when Jon (Nolan) was injured early on and it was good to get the minutes, more than 70 in the end.

I need more minutes, more games and to stamp my authority on them to impress the gaffer. If I’m playing I’m happy.

Q: And you still see Ipswich Town – your hometown club – as the place for that to happen?

A: I don’t see why I shouldn’t be here next season. I need games and I need to keep playing. This has been a disappointing season for me personally because I’d have liked to have played more games.

MORE: ‘Dark, dark times’ to a ‘light bulb moment’ – Jon Nolan opens up on his journey from Everton to Ipswich Town

It’s football and there is always speculation. I tend not to take any notice of it and stay focused.

Andre Dozzell at Birmingham as a sub. Photot: PagepixAndre Dozzell at Birmingham as a sub. Photot: Pagepix

I know the only way I am going to improve is by playing games and I want more than anything else for that to be here at Ipswich.

Q: Being an Ipswich boy, how much as this season hurt?

A: Obviously, being an Ipswich lad makes it all the more disappointing. Growing up in the area I’ve only seen the club in the Championship and what makes it even worse is that Norwich are at the top of the league and heading for the Premier League.

But we can’t bother about that, we just need to focus on ourselves and not worry about what other clubs are doing.

Q: There’s been a buzz around you for some time now. Has there been too much expectation placed on your shoulders?

Andre Dozzell in training. Photo: Ross HallsAndre Dozzell in training. Photo: Ross Halls

A: Maybe, but I think that’s just part and parcel of what a footballer has to deal with. I don’t think about it and just try to play freely without putting any pressure on myself.

Q: How big a role does your dad (Jason, former Ipswich and Tottenham midfielder) play in your career?

A: I talk to him a lot. He’s probably my harshest critic. Even when I’ve had a good game he won’t give me too much credit.

He likes to keep my feet on the ground and tells me I have to keep applying myself if I’m going to be in the team on a regular basis. It’s not hard to take; in fact I’m sure it helps me.

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I’ve never felt that I’m under any extra pressure because of who my dad happens to be. The way I see it, we’re two different players. He’s had his career, I’m having mine now and I’m still trying to progress.

Ipswich Town player Andre Dozzell with is dad Jason. Photot: Sarah Lucy BrownIpswich Town player Andre Dozzell with is dad Jason. Photot: Sarah Lucy Brown

I’ve looked back and seen videos of my dad playing. There’s a show on Sky called Premier League Years and I’ve seen a fair bit of him on that. There’s a lot on YouTube as well and I enjoy seeing what he was like as a player.

Q: There are plenty of homegrown players in and around the first team at the moment. How exciting is that to all be progressing together?

A: Yeah, there are a lot of young lads who have come through who are all very talented and have shown they can play at Championship level. There are plenty of others on their way as well.

It’s good to be a part of it and in the case of Flynn Downes we’ve been together since the Under-9s. We’ve come a long way together and even played for England alongside each other.

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We’re mates but we still have that rivalry on the pitch because we’re fighting to get in the first team and stay there.

It’s obviously up to the gaffer but I’d love it if there were six or seven of us youngsters in the first team next season.

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