Counago - joining Ipswich Town was my best career move

PABLO Counago has hailed his decision to join Ipswich Town as the best decision he has ever made.

The 31-year-old Spaniard will be at Portman Road on Saturday when Crystal Palace come to Suffolk for a Championship game.

Counago is on loan at Selhurst Park, and accepts that he will not kick a ball for Ipswich again.

Unable to feature in the Palace squad at the weekend because of the terms of his loan deal, fans’ favourite Counago had his ups and downs while spending eight years in Suffolk.

His first four years started with success under the management of George Burley and ended with a long stint in the wilderness under Joe Royle.

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After two years back in Spain, Jim Magilton brought Counago back to more acclaim and success, but the player had a difficult time under Roy Keane after Magilton had been replaced.

Despite his mixed times at Portman Road since first arriving in the summer of 2001, Counago has no regrets.

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“I would do it all again,” he said. “It was my best decision in life to join Ipswich.

“To move to a foreign country at a young age and learn a new language and a new football culture was a challenge that I have thoroughly enjoyed.

“I have no regrets at all and love everything about Ipswich Town. I have so many memories.

“It was nice to return when Jim Magilton asked me to come back, and this has added to my memories.”

Counago has no resentment towards Royle, who kept him out in the cold in the final year of his first stay at Portman Road.

“There was nothing personal with Joe Royle,” added Counago.

“The financial situation was not good and I was on Premier League money, and I understand what had to be done.”

But Counago is not so generous in his opinion of Keane with reports of the two having a set-to when the player stood his ground over an issue.

“I don’t want to talk about that – it is best, and it is in the past.

“But what I will say is that Ipswich are better off now and there have been some massive plusses since I went out on loan.”

Now living in Dagenham with his family, Counago said that he expects to make frequent trips back to Ipswich, adding: “Supporters have always been so good to me and this has helped to make Ipswich so special for me.

“At the moment I am looking to help Palace stay in the Championship, and then see about what the future holds.

“Perhaps I will stay at Palace, or perhaps I will move to enough English club.

“Or perhaps I will go and play abroad in the two or three years playing time I have left.

“It will be time for a new challenge, but it won’t be as exciting as the one I loved at Ipswich.”

WHAT are your memories of Pablo Counago – let us know, e-mail

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