Lankester impresses, Rowe's treble, Huws' return and sharp Morris - observations as U23s hit EIGHT
PUBLISHED: 20:57 20 August 2018 | UPDATED: 20:57 20 August 2018
Ipswich Town’s Under 23s beat Hull 8-0 at Portman Road tonight with Danny Rowe netting a treble. ANDY WARREN ran the rule over the Blues’ youngsters.
Tale of the game
In truth this was all very simple for the young Blues. At times it resembled an attack v defence training drill.
Under 23 football can be like that, with sides of differing strength facing off against one another, with the Blues fielding a team considerably more experienced in the adult game.
They were three up at the break, with Ben Morris, Danny Rowe and Idris El Mizouni all finding the net on a night where Chris Hogg and Gerard Nash’s side once again implemented a similar style to the Ipswich first-team.
The scoring continued after the break as Ben Folami, on for Emyr Huws (more on him later), rifled home from the edge of the box, before Morris grabbed his second of the evening with a good finish following a nice ball from Shane McLoughlin.
Jack Lankester made it six before Rowe completed his hat-trick with two tap-ins as he stepped up his own return from ankle surgery with an encouraging display.
The young Blues declared at eight, in what was an entertaining display for those in attendance.
Ipswich Town: Wright, Emmanuel, Smith, Ndaba, Clements; Huws (Folami 46), El Mizouni (Crowe 76), McLoughlin, Lankester, Rowe (McKendry 76); Morris
Good Huws for Emyr
This may have been a youth game in front of a few hundred people at Portman Road, but this was a big moment for Emyr Huws.
He hasn’t played since suffering a knee injury at Middlesbrough in December, but performed well in his comeback game.
Clearly short of full fitness, which is to be expected following knee surgery, the Welshman got up and down the pitch well and was a calming influence in a young side before being replaced at the break.
He switched play continually and was happy to put his body on the line in tough tackles and aerial battles, while clearly playing with the handbrake on.
Huws can be a major player for the Blues, but there’s no need to rush him.
Teddy Bishop was due to be involved in this contest but dropped out an hour before kick-off due to illness.
It was good to see Rowe get more minutes in his legs, following his return at Exeter in the Carabao Cup, with the former Macclesfield man now surely setting his sights on league football.
Where next for Josh?
Paul Hurst has used 22 players in his first-team in four games in charge, but Josh Emmanuel has yet to feature in a matchday squad.
Janoi Donacien is in firm possession of the starting right-back slot, with Jordan Spence his deputy, leaving little room for a player who excelled on loan at Rotherham last season.
He was comfortable throughout this game, physically dominating any of the young Hull players who looked to challenge him, showing neat touches and getting forward well whenever possible.
But Under 23 football is a major step back for the 21-year-old, who played in a Wembley final as recently as May.
You would think another loan move would make sense if he is not going to be involved in the senior squad.
The new pros
Both Jack Lankester and Bailey Clements signed professional deals with the Blues in the past seven days, with Hurst clearly seeing something in the talented teenagers.
Lankester, described by the Blues boss as a ‘cheeky chappy’, is inventive and clearly a clever footballer. He played on the right of the attacking line behind striker Ben Morris on this occasion, but is capable of playing in the middle.
He’s confident, looks to take on his man and can create space for his team-mates with incisive passes. He was certainly impressive on this showing.
Clements, 17, is a left-back who looks to get up and down and support his winger wherever possible, combining well with Rowe on occasions.
There were a few loose passes and a couple of sluggish moments in the first-half, but that’s to be expected of a player so young.
Both clearly have bright futures at the club.
The England Under 19 international is looking sharp.
He took his goals superbly, leading the line well as a central striker and always offering the creative line behind him an outlet.
He looked the part in the senior side on the opening day when he came on and tested the Blackburn defence with a display of direct running and trickery.
The youngster could be an asset for Hurst this season in one of the wide forward roles.