'It's been a breath of fresh air for me' - skipper Chambers on Hurst's arrival at Ipswich
PUBLISHED: 18:38 27 July 2018 | UPDATED: 18:38 27 July 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
The challenge of proving himself under a new manager is exactly what Ipswich Town captain Luke Chambers feels he needs at this stage of his career.
The 32-year-old was a nailed-on starter under former manager Mick McCarthy, making 164 appearances during his reign, but Hurst used his first press conference as Blues boss to insist no player was assured of a starting place.
Chambers believes he has risen to that challenge, having almost certainly secured a place in Hurst’s starting XI as well as retaining the captaincy, but is well aware he can’t take his foot off the case given the Blues are in the market for at least two new centre-backs.
“He goes quietly about his business,” Chambers said of Hurst. “It’s been a breath of fresh air for me, him coming in.
“I think in one of the first interviews he gave he said ‘it doesn’t matter who’s been where and done what’. I think I needed that, if I’m honest and it’s a challenge to get myself in the team regardless of who’s here and who he signs. I’m going to give everything I can to be in the team.
“I don’t want to be seen as someone who’s played every game for the last 10 years and been a manager’s favourite.
“Whoever came in, I was always going to rise to the challenge, and hopefully I’ve done enough to be in the team.
“We haven’t got too many defenders so the challenge hasn’t been great, but whatever happens I want to be in the best possible physical shape, which I do feel I’m in at the minute.
“I think all the boys can say they are in the best physical shape they have been in for a long time and that should allow us to produce what the manager is asking for.
So did Chambers feel certain to start under McCarthy? “No,” he replied. “But I didn’t have any reason to not play. I feel I’ve played pretty decent football for the club for the last six years and at quite a consistent level.
“Yes, I’ve played in positions I haven’t liked as much, but playing centre-half I’ve enjoyed it for however long it is that I’ve played there – and I don’t want that to change. I love playing for the club, I love living where I live, so I’ll be doing everything I can to extend my time here, really.”
Hurst has made changes during his first few weeks as Town boss, both in terms of playing style, approach to fitness and training methods, with Chambers enjoying the new approach.
“The first two weeks was a shock to the system but it wasn’t not enjoyable for me. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, the change and the new ideas, and I’ve really enjoyed the last few weeks.
“Obviously, different people take a lot longer, or have different time frames to get their heads round what’s happening.
“It’s been very tough but they have brought in a new system where you have to fill your name out on your phone or on an iPad and say what level of intensity the training is, with 10 being virtually impossible. In the first five days I think everyone put a 10.
“It shows you the level we’re at but I feel the squad is definitely buying into the ideas – the new training, the new set-up of how we are looking after ourselves and our bodies, and for me I think it will definitely stand us in good stead.
“I think we’ll be absolutely flying that first game of the season and I don’t think the lads can wait for it.”
Chambers has also been reunited with a familiar face this summer in the shape of new Ipswich assistant Chris Doig.
The two played together at Northampton when Chambers was a young player making his way at Sixfields, but the Town skipper is not expecting any favours from his old friend.
“He’s a strong character and the lads will probably says it’s been another shock to the system,” he said.
“It’s always different when you’ve been used to one thing for so long and then things change. It takes a while for some people to get their heads right but the boys have responded.
“I’m not sure if you noticed but he’s had a little pop at close quarters that the standard of training wasn’t quite up to it today (Thursday). I think he had every right to do that and I think no stone will be left unturned.
“There will be no days off for anyone in terms of when you’re out on the training pitch you are working – working to improve and working to be the best you can be as a football player. If we can all buy into that mindset here there are no limits to what we can achieve this season, I do really believe that.”
Chambers is set to be involved today when the Blues welcome Premier League side West Ham to Portman Road for their final pre-season friendly.