Blues boss hails Luke Hyam’s progress

Luke Hyam

Luke Hyam - Credit: Archant

IPSWICH Town manager Mick McCarthy showered midfielder Luke Hyam with praise after naming him as the team’s ‘most improved player’ at this week’s end-of-season awards ceremony.

The 21-year-old’s tenacious displays – combined with the fact that he is a local lad who came through the academy – has long been a favourite among the fans.

He was often the first player to be dropped by previous managers Roy Keane and Paul Jewell when things were going wrong though.

The former Northgate High School pupil has never let his drop though and become an integral part of the Blues’ turnaround in the second half of this campaign.

“I think that award (most improved player) was an obvious one for me,” explained McCarthy.

“We’d scouted him at Wolves, but I didn’t really know him.

“When I came in, he’d been playing, but I have to say he didn’t really knock my socks off in training in those first couple of weeks.

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“I went with the experienced pair of Nigel Reo-Coker and Guirane N’Daw in that first game (a 1-0 win at Birmingham) because I thought that was the right thing to do.

“Even the following week, and weeks after that, I didn’t see a lad that should have been nailed on and playing in the team. I saw a hard worker, someone who was industrious and got about.

“He just got better and better in the training sessions though.”

McCarthy continued: “There was some suggestion that he was only a holding midfield player who’d just sit, but he’s blossomed since we’ve come in. We’ve allowed him to get forward and play his football a bit more.

“The first game he came in, I think it was against Nottingham Forest, he was outstanding. He made a tackle in that game that changed things early on. He clattered somebody to win the ball – that was great.

“He’s just got better and better to the extent that he’s penned in the team, as a few of them are now.”

He added: “I think there’s lots to come from him. We’re encouraging him to get forward and get in the box, to shoot and play forward. He’s trying it all.

“He wants to do well. He’s a real positive player and positive person. He’s got loads to offer. I’m really delighted with him.”

Asked if Hyam’s progress should act as inspiration to others on the fringes of his team, the Blues boss said: “It makes me laugh when people ask ‘is a player in my plans’? They’re in my plans if they’re good enough and run around and chase and play. If they’ve got the right attitude.

“Maybe I’m more demanding than some people, less demanding than others. It’s about being realistically demanding. What can you give to me and the team?

“I don’t ask people to do things they can’t do, I ask people to do things they can do and do them well. Do what you do best and don’t drop below your standards.”

– See today’s EADT for Bryan Klug’s thoughts on the club applying for Category One academy status, as well as a full Ipswich V Birmingham match preview. For live match updates from today’s game, follow @Stuart_Watson and @ChrisBramms on Twitter.