'I feel like a senior lad this year' - Downes on his role in Hurst's Ipswich squad
PUBLISHED: 06:00 30 July 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Flynn Downes may have only played a single season of first-team football but the young midfielder already feels like a senior member of the Ipswich squad.
The 19-year-old impressed in a homegrown Ipswich midfield on Saturday, lining up alongside Andre Dozzell (19) and Tristan Nydam (18), having burst onto the scene just a year ago.
And despite still being one of the younger members of Hurst’s squad, the midfielder now feels like one of the senior Ipswich players.
“He tells us to go and play our natural game,” Downes said of new boss Hurst.
“He says he wants us to go and do certain things of course, but he makes us feel like every other player and I feel like a senior lad this year – which I think does help massively.
“I don’t feel like the youngster anymore and I like that.
“We were relaxed, confident and I’ve known Tris and Dozz since we were under 8s so to be playing with them against West Ham was crazy.
“To experience what that level was like was great.”
When asked how the squad is shaping up for the new season, Downes said: “I think we’re looking really good.
“That’s the fittest I’ve felt and I think I speak on behalf of the boys as well that we’re all feeling fit, strong and powerful.
“With the ball as well, the quality’s good. We’re feeling confident.
“He (Hurst) knows what he wants us to do and, in the first couple of games, we were still getting used to that but we’re fit enough to do it now.
“We’re gradually learning and I don’t know how long (it will take). As you’ve seen it’s a different style we’re playing and it’s rubbing off already. We’ve got a bit of a way to go and hopefully we’ll get a lot better.”
Martyn Waghorn continues to be the subject of firm transfer interest from Middlesbrough and Derby and, while Downes insisted the squad don’t want last season’s leading scorer to leave, he insisted they are not letting it distract them.
“We’re all just getting on with it,” he said.
“We don’t want him to go because he’s a top, top, player but we’re all just getting on with it and doing out own thing. We don’t want him to go but we’re doing what we’ve got to do.”