Bowyer insists he has not lost his competitive edge
LEE Bowyer pulls no punches with any Ipswich Town team mate who he doesn’t feel is pulling their weight.
The 34-year-old may come across much quieter than the tough guy reputation which proceeds him, but behind the settled family man exterior a fierce will to win still burns as brightly as ever.
“No-one likes to lose, so to lose seven on the trot – well I can’t say that has ever happened to me before,” said the Premier League’s most booked player.
“It definitely was not a nice experience for me. I am competitive and want to win.”
Bowyer admits his own Blues career is yet to fully take off following a summer switch from Birmingham.
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However, having played 17 straight seasons in the Premier League – reaching a Champions League semi-final with Leeds, winning a Carling Cup with Birmingham and representing his country along the way – few would argue that the experienced midfielder is not qualified to dish out a bit of criticism here and there.
“I think I have been playing long enough now to be able to speak to people or give people advice,” said the Londoner. “I definitely think I am one of those people that can and should be doing that.
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“At times when you go through bad runs you need to keep together as a team because you can’t afford to carry individuals that aren’t working hard.
“Sometimes a bit of criticism is best coming from a senior player. They might think ‘well, they have been there and I will listen to him’, whereas if a manager was to say it then they could take it personally.”
Bowyer has looked much more comfortable playing in a 4-4-2 formation of late, forging a good central partnership with nine-goal Blackburn loanee Keith Andrews.
“Keith is playing well,” said Bowyer. “He has scored nine goals before Christmas and, no matter what league you are playing in, as a midfielder, that is exceptional.
“I am enjoying playing alongside him and hopefully he thinks the same.
“It’s down to the money men and the people in charge upstairs, but hopefully they can persuade him to stay.”
Town ended their seven-game losing streak with victories over Barnsley and Derby in recent weeks, and Bowyer sees no reason why that can’t continue at big-spending Leicester City on Boxing Day.
He said: “Leicester are a step-up in class, but so were West Ham (where Bowyer got a last minute winner) and some other teams that we have played this season.
“We went to Cardiff which is a tough place to go, but should have won there. It was the same at Middlesbrough.
“Obviously it is going to be tough going there (Leicester), but they got beat at the weekend (2-1 at Doncaster) so they are not unbeatable.
“Leicester have got to come and play against us. They have got to attack us and I think that could work in our favour. Hopefully we can stay strong and nick something on the break. There are certainly goals in this team.”