Emyr Huws on midfield battle, patterns of play and positivity in Ipswich camp

Emyr Huws on the ball against West Ham. Photo: Steve Waller

Emyr Huws on the ball against West Ham. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Stephen Waller

Ipswich Town midfielder Emyr Huws says he is ready to fight for his place in the team heading into a big year for both him and the club.

The 26-year-old was eased back into action last season having spent the majority of the previous two campaigns sidelined with a nasty knee injury. Now, following an enforced five-month Covid-19 break which has robbed him of even more football, the Welshman is raring to go as the clock ticks on the final year of his four-year deal.

“It’s a big year for me and it’s a big year for the club,” he said. “It would have been better for this break to have eaten into my injury period, but it is what it is. I’ve used it to my advantage. We’ve all had to adapt, not just us as footballers, everyone has had to adapt.

“Now we’re back and we’re hungry for promotion this season. I think the vibe in the group is good and we’re feeling really good about ourselves. We’ve got to do the job. That’s the task and we need to get it done.”

Huws faces stiff midfield competition from Flynn Downes, Andre Dozzell, Teddy Bishop, Jon Nolan and Alan Judge with it looking to be a case of three out of six. And that’s not even taking into account emerging youngsters Idris El Mizouni and Armando Dobra (whose game time is more likely on the wings).

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“There is a lot of midfield competition – there’s no getting away from that,” said Huws. “I think everyone has been playing well in pre-season. The best men will play.

“There were probably parts of last season where I was still in the mode of trying to get through it. Now I feel like my focus is on performing and winning rather than just surviving. That’s a great feeling for me and I think, as a team, we’re looking in good shape. We’re all exited to start the season.”

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After Downes, Dozzell and Bishop impressed for an hour in yesterday’s 4-1 home friendly defeat to West Ham, Huws, Judge and Nolan came on. And it was Huws who provided a fine driving run to set-up Freddie Sears for Town’s goal.

Reflecting on the game, he said: “I thought we did well. The things we are working on in training are translating nicely onto the pitch. We need to learn from the mistakes quickly – and I think we will. Put those right and we’re looking in good shape.”

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Asked what the team had learnt from playing against Premier League opposition, Paul Lambert’s men having lost 3-0 at Tottenham last weekend, Huws said: “That the gap, in my opinion, isn’t that great.

“There is an element of being clinical at the top end of the pitch – I think that’s what I’ve seen from these two games. But we’ve definitely proved we can hold our own. It’s just been silly mistakes in both games. If we stop doing those I think we’ll be good.”

He continued: “We’re working a lot in training on positioning, tactics etcetera. We know what each other is doing. There is a lot more synchronisation in areas and I think it’s working. We’ll continue to improve on that. We’re feeling positive.

“What you work on in training you want to take into games. That’s what we’re doing. We’re sticking with it. Both games have been great. If you take the mistakes away I think it’s been really, really positive. The way we are playing is exactly what we’ve been working on.”

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Praised for his role in the goal, Huws said: “Thank you. It was a good ball from Iddy (El Mizouni) and Searsy held his run nicely. We’ve been working on those kind of patterns a lot, it’s boring at times, but when they come off it’s worth it. That’s what we’ve got to do and we’ll continue to do it.

“I think when the gaffer first came in (the way we were playing) was really good. From where we were at the time it was such a breath of fresh air. We’re sticking with that now, we’re going to keep practicing it. I think we’re all happier with it, we’re all feeling good about it and I think we’re all going onto the pitch a lot more confident about the way we’re supposed to be. It feels nice, I’m enjoying it.”

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