'He's getting better every day... he has the devilment the top players need' - Lambert on star man Downes
PUBLISHED: 10:00 05 August 2019 | UPDATED: 13:23 05 August 2019
Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert has hailed the progress made by midfielder Flynn Downes, following his man-of-the-match display on opening day.
The academy graduate was the best player on the pitch as the Blues won 1-0 at Burton, impressing in a central midfield two alongside experienced campaigner Cole Skuse.
The 20-year-old played 31 games last season and will be central to Lambert's plans during the campaign ahead, with the Town boss impressed with the strides he's made.
"I think Flynn Downes is getting better and better with every passing day," Lambert said.
"I think he's got a big future. He's a long way from being the finished article but he's going in the right direction.
"This season could be massive for him. He's a hardy kid as everyone knows and he has that little bit of devilment the top players need. You can't curtail it at times but you have to in the right way.
"He's got one hell of a future, that's for sure."
Downes' performance came a week on from a red card for a violent headbutt in Town's final pre-season game at Cambridge, with the midfielder managing to keep his head when faced with a number of heavy tackles.
"I had a chat with him in Ipswich and told him that the better player you are, the more things like that are going to happen to you," Lambert said.
"So you just have to walk away from it, which is hard with all the emotion in the game.
"I'm delighted with him.
"If he does get kicked he has to walk away from it, which is hard in big atmospheres, but he's excellent."
When asked how Downes' style of play compared to his own, Lambert said: "It's unfair on him because he's his own player, a really, really good player with great stamina and great endurance. He's got everything going for him.
"I think he's going to be a really good player, I really do, and he's maturing every month.
"It's unfair to compare us because we played in different eras.
"But what I see with my eye, the kid's a really good player."