'That's what Ipswich Town is all about' - Ambrose excited by Blues' crop of kids
PUBLISHED: 06:00 12 July 2018
Former Ipswich Town academy graduate Darren Ambrose is excited to see what the Blues’ crop of talented youngsters are capable of under new boss Paul Hurst.
Flynn Downes and Tristan Nydam made their Blues debuts last season and impressed when given the chance by former manager Mick McCarthy, while Andre Dozzell is battling back from a knee injury suffered last August having made his debut back in 2016.
Ben Morris and Ben Folami found themselves in-and-around the first-team by the end of last season, Myles Kenlock will be hoping to force his way into the starting XI and Josh Emmanuel is back at the club after spending last season on loan at Rotherham.
Ambrose, who made his Ipswich bow in 2002 before being sold to Newcastle a year later, also believes Teddy Bishop can be a big plus for the Blues as he battles his way back from hamstring surgery and is excited for the future.
“There’s no better thing for a football club than to bring players through the academy, all the way to the first team,” Ambrose said.
“It happened in my day under George Burley when a lot of players came through and to have that again is excellent.
“Flynn Downes and Tristan Nydam are two really good young players and Andre Dozzell is going to be a massive plus for the team if he can get fit for the start of the season. Following him on Instagram and things like that says he’s starting to do some good work.
“That’s exciting and you can add Teddy Bishop to that, too. It’s been a frustrating 18 months or so for him and when he’s firing on all cylinders he can be a top player.
“It will feel like a new signing for them.
“The academy set-up we have at Ipswich, with Bryan (Klug), Lee O’Neill, Gerard Nash and the rest of the guys, is brilliant and I wouldn’t be surprised if more players came through this season.
“Fingers crossed, because that’s what Ipswich Town is all about.”
Ambrose believes Ipswich’s young players are in the perfect environment to learn their craft but is sure they will want to play in as many games as possible, rather than continue to ease their way into the first-team picture.
“I made my debut at the end of the season we were relegated (2001/02) at Arsenal and I was just thinking about wanting to play every game,” he said.
“I doubt they will say it publicly but, if they are like me, they will be wanting to play every game they possibly can. I felt I was good enough – I was sharing digs with Darren Bent at the time and he was exactly the same. We both felt we were good enough and wanted to show everyone what we could give.
“I’ve no doubt these players will have the hunger and desire to get into the team this season. If you get the balance right and there’s healthy competition then that’s great.
“You can almost build team with these youngsters and with the senior pros around too you can get a great environment.”
Ambrose came back to Ipswich for a third spell in the 2014/15 season under former boss McCarthy and admires the job his former manager did over five years at Portman Road, but believes the club needs the fresh start the appointment of Hurst has brought.
“I’m as optimistic as everyone to be honest,” Ambrose said.
“It’s a fresh start which, all-in-all was probably needed. I think Mick (McCarthy) did a great job in the time he was at the club and I don’t have a bad word to say about him and Terry because they were both fantastic to me when I was there.
“But the fresh start and some fresh optimism was needed, really, with Paul and Chris coming in. Hopefully they hit the ground running because there will be a level of optimism around the club.
“If they can get off to a good start then it really does look like it could be an exciting time for the club.”