“Cocky” Ronan impresses Roy

RONAN Murray is a “cocky” player – and Roy Keane likes that in his strikers.

RONAN Murray is a “cocky” player – and Roy Keane likes that in his strikers.

In fact, Keane would have no problem in handing Murray his first senior start over the coming months following the 19-year-old’s impressive progress since the start of the season.

Academy product Murray has made eight appearances from the bench this term and has been introduced as a substitute, for the last 20 or 30 minutes, in Ipswich Town’s last four games.

He is again likely to be summoned from the bench at Sheffield United this afternoon.

“Ronan is a good kid, he’s cocky,” enthused Keane.

“He’s a really nice lad and has a nice way about him.

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“I think he’s getting fitter as well. He’s worked a lot on his fitness. When I took over the job, and even last year, in terms of doing tests with the younger players, I think he knew he had a bit to go.

“I was on his case quite a bit with regards bleep tests, and his body fat, but he was a young lad and he had one or two injuries, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt with that.

“He had a good pre-season and he’s only missed one or two days of training this season. He looks a lot slimmer, and he likes to get stuck in,” added Keane.

The Town boss certainly has no worries with Murray’s effectiveness against some of the bigger, no-nonsense centre-halves who grace the Championship, despite his rather small stature.

Keane continued: “We’re not worried about the physical side of it because we know that Ronan has got a big heart, which is just as important as anything else.

“He’s getting his opportunities and he’s in the squad on merit.

“He’ll be in the squad this weekend. Don’t be surprised to see him on the pitch at some time (at Sheffield United), either from the start or from the bench. He‘s looked stronger over the last few weeks.”

While fellow attacking substitute, Connor Wickham, has rarely been out of the headlines in recent months, despite also not having yet played a full 90 minutes this term, Murray has enjoyed a much lower-profile.

In fact, there was a chance that the Irishman might even have been loaned out to a club from a lower division earlier in the campaign.

Keane, though, believes that the two teenagers gel well together.

“Ronan has got a good chemistry with Connor,” explained Keane.

“They looked very bright last week (2-0 win over Millwall). I definitely think that Ronan has got a chance.

“We had one or two offers for Ronan to go out on loan over the last month or two, but I was reluctant and I was glad we held onto him. When he comes on, he affects the game.

“The end product will come from getting more minutes on the pitch. I think Ronan and Connor give us something different. They have the young energy that we all used to have. It’s great, you can’t beat it,” concluded Keane.

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