Hat-trick hero Grant Ward on goal celebrations, stealing the match ball and mum making it down the front
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Grant Ward admits he better start working on his goal celebrations after scoring a hat-trick in a dream debut for Ipswich Town.
The 21-year-old winger only arrived from Tottenham in a £600k deal last Monday and was named on the bench for the Blues’ Championship opener against Barnsley at Portman Road.
He scored with his first touch, just 39 seconds after coming on as a half-time substitute, then bagged two more fine strikes as Mick McCarthy’s men secured an entertaining 4-2 victory.
The goal celebrations were, given the circumstances, rather understated though – raised arms and hugs with his team-mates.
“I just wanted to switch it up,” he laughed. “I normally do a knee slide, but you can’t do three knee slides. I should probably work on the celebrations!”
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Ward arrived for his post-match press conference in a jacket, shirt and tie, wearing a ruck sack on both shoulders and tightly clutching the match ball. The fresh-faced youngster could have passed for a schoolboy heading off to play jumpers for goalposts. His answers, refreshingly, had a playfulness about them too.
“Everyone is saying ‘we might have to keep that ball’, so I’ve just been holding it tight until it gets in the boot of my car!” he explained.
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When asked how many hat-tricks he’s scored in his career, he paused, slowly started counting on his fingers before replying in deadpan fashion… ‘one!’
McCarthy jokingly reprimanded the youngster for taking selfies with fans rather than celebrating the victory with his team-mates, with Ward explaining: “There were a few fans congratulating me so I wanted to speak to as many of them as I could.
“I got a little clap as I walked in the dressing room afterwards, so I can’t complain. All the lads have been great with me.”
And on his family being in attendance, he said: “There was my mum, my girlfriend, my dad, his girlfriend, so there was quite a few.
“I’ve seen my mum because she always goes to the front. It doesn’t matter what ticket you give her, I don’t know if she swaps them or what, but she always ends up down the front! She was very pleased.”
He added: “It was a dream debut – I couldn’t have asked for much more. I only came on Monday, so I didn’t have long with the team, but I seem to have fitted in well.
“I’ve just gambled on the first one. I gave him (David McGoldrick) a shout, because you know what strikers are like, they can be greedy, and he’s left it to be fair to him.
“The second one I was debating whether to hit it first time when it was in the air, but I took a touch, thought I was going to get closed down, so I just hit it.
“For the third, you’re always told to just hit hard and low and thankfully that worked.”